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Shutterbug Saturday: Land of Oz 2.0

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Land of Oz Book Image One
Image Credit: Emerald Mountain Realty

Previous Post: Land of Oz

When the Land of Oz opened, Debbie Reynolds and her daughter, Carrie Fisher, were on hand for the ribbon cutting. Sadly, the owner of the park, Grover Cleveland Robbins, Jr., passed away due to cancer in March, prior to the opening in June 1970. His brother Harry carried on in their company Carolina Caribbean Corporation. Robbins created the Tweetsie Railroad Wild West Amusement Park.

Their father, Grover Cleveland Robbins, Sr., was the Mayor of Blowing Rock, NC (several terms), served as the postmaster, started the Chamber of Commerce in 1922 and helped start the first high school there. Our Blue Ridge Parkway, here in NC, is because Robbins, Sr., was sent to Washington, D.C., by our, then, Governor, to make sure it would not be built in Tennessee.

The designer of the Theme Park was Jack Pentes, a Korean War veteran and, creator of Carolina Clowns and soft-play equipment.

Carrie Fisher Jack Pentes Debbie Reynolds Image Two
Photo Credit: Emerald Mountain Realty
Jack Pentes Image Three
Photo Credit: Emerald Mountain Realty
Harry Robbins Debbie Reynolds Jack Pentes Image Four
Photo Credit: Emerald Mountain Realty
Harry Robbins Debbie Reynolds Image Five
Photo Credit: Emerald Mountain Realty

Land of Oz (Official Site)

Additional Reading:
Five Interesting Things (North Carolina Field & Family)
That Abandoned Wizard of Oz Theme Park? (Popsugar)
Ribbon Cutting: The Robbins Trail (Watauga Democrat)

Throwback Thursday: Mumtaz Mausoleum 1631

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Mumtaz Mahal Wikipedia Image
Image Credit: Exotic India Art &
Wikipedia

Mumtaz Mahal (exalted one of the palace), born Arjumand Banu Begum, was the Empress consort of the Mughal Empire, from January 19, 1628 to June 17, 1631, [and] chief consort of the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan.

[Born] to a family of Persian nobility, [she] was the daughter of Abu’l-Hasan Asaf Khan […]. She was married at the age of 19 [in 1612] to Prince Khurram, [later named] Jahan, [becoming] his second wife. [They] had fourteen children, including Jahanara Begum […] and the Crown prince Dara Shikoh [..]. Shikoh was, eventually, deposed by younger sibling Aurangzeb.

Three hundred, ninety years ago, today, Mumtaz Mahal died [from a postpartum hemorrhage] in Burhanpur, Deccan (present-day Madhya Pradesh), during the birth of her fourteenth child, a daughter named Gauhar Ara Begum. Her body was temporarily buried at Burhanpur in a walled pleasure garden known as Zainabad […].

[The] emperor was reportedly inconsolable. Apparently, after her death, he went into secluded mourning for a year. When he appeared again, his hair had turned white, his back was bent and his face worn. Mumtaz’s eldest daughter, Jahanara […], gradually brought her father out of grief and took her mother’s place at court.

[Shah Jahan] began planning the design and construction of a suitable mausoleum and funerary garden in Agra for his wife. It was a task that would take 22 years to complete: The Taj Mahal.

Wikipedia Summaries

Additional Reading:
The Myth of the Taj Mahal and a New Theory of It’s Symbolic Meaning
(College Art/Wayne E. Begley/PDF)

TV Tuesday: Nat Hurst, MD 1976

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University of Rochester School of Medicine Wiki Image One
University of Rochester
School of Medicine & Dentistry
Photo Credit: Dread Pirate Westley
Wikipedia

Forty-five years ago, today, the one-hour documentary Nat Hurst, MD: 20th Century American Physician aired on TV (network unknown). Written and directed by Raúl daSilva, it was produced and narrated by Jerry Carr.

The life of prominent African American medical doctor, Nathaniel Hurst, who rose from a poor family to the presidency of both a major hospital and the Monroe County Medical Association.

Raúl daSilva Summary

There is very little written about this production but, I did manage to dig up some data on Nat. ~Vic

Nat received his M.D. from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry in 1954. He did his internship and residency in internal medicine at Rochester General Hospital. He entered private practice in 1958.

In 1976, Nat was installed as the first African-American president of the Monroe County Medical Society. In 1981, he received the Edward Mott Moore Award, the Medical Society’s highest honor and The Community Leadership Award of the Urban League of Rochester.

Nat was an expertise [sic] in geriatrics, pioneering a number of innovative programs. His interests included giving time to such projects as the Sickle Cell Anemia Project, the Inner City Health Council and the Catholic Interracial Council

Nat left an indelible imprint on Rochester’s medical community, first as an internist in the late 1950s and then as vice president, and president, of the former Park Avenue Hospital medical staff. He is credited with major involvement in the planning, building and operating of Park Ridge Hospital and Nursing Home. He later became director of the hospital’s internal medicine department and subsequently medical director of Park Ridge Hospital.

Birth: December 11, 1919, Suffolk City, VA
Death: December 22, 2000, North Carolina
Buried: White Haven Memorial Park, Pittsford, NY

Dr. Nathaniel John Hurst
Find A Grave Memorial

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Twelve-Pick Four-Tron 1982

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Tron IMDb & Amazon Image One
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Twelve and final pick. Thanks for the invitation, Hans!

Category: Sci-Fi/Fantasy
Film: Tron

This has been my worst category as I love science fiction anything. I have struggled over these past six months trying to pick just one. My choice would change, daily. I finally settled on one that is part of my teen years and became a cultural cult classic. I still have the sticker that I got when I went to see this at the theater in 1982. Like The Breakfast Club, this movie means something to me. Released the summer before my junior year, this movie got me interested in computers and graphics. There is also the memory of a scene I saw in the original release at the theater, that disappeared in subsequent showings on HBO, TV and the VHS tapes, and made me crazy:

The 20th Anniversary DVD edition includes a deleted love scene: Tron and Yori go to her apartment, where she pushes a button on the wall. [T]he walls [disappear] and her uniform changes into a different costume. Also included are a partially completed “morning after” scene…(all dialog tracks for this short scene are lost).

IMDb

All the data on the Internet states that the scene was removed from the final cut. I beg to differ. I distinctly remember seeing them go to her “apartment.” That being said, what I remember from the scene is a little different from the “official deleted scene” (she glowed, her hair was blowing around and her helmet floated off her head). I think a shortened version of that scene was released to theaters and when the movie was released to HBO & VHS tapes, they wiped all of it out. This is a very clear memory. The prologue to the movie, when released to theaters, was also removed. The “original” opening monologue (that I’ve never heard) was restored in the 20th Anniversary DVD. ~Vic

Tron IMDb & Amazon Image Two
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Directed by Steve Lisberger, the screenplay was written by Charles S. Haas & Lisberger, adapted from the original story by Bonnie MacBird (whom is married to DARPA-connected computer scientist Alan Kay). Produced by Donald Kushner, it starred Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, David Warner, Cindy Morgan, Barnard Hughes, Dan Shor and Peter Jurasik and, was released July 9.

Kevin Flynn is a software engineer and an ex-employee at ENCOM. He runs a video arcade and tries to hack into ENCOM’s mainframe, looking for proof that his video games were plagiarized. The Master Control Program stops him. Programmer Alan Bradley and engineer Dr. Lora Baines, his girlfriend, discover that they have lost access to their projects. When Alan questions Senior Exec. VP Ed Dillinger about the restriction, Dillinger states that extra security is needed to stop outside hacking. When Alan leaves, Dillinger asks the MCP about the issues and realizes that the MCP has become a power-hungry virtual intelligence. Dillinger is blackmailed into complying with the MCP’s wishes due to his theft of Flynn’s material. Alan, Lora & Flynn break into ENCOM and Flynn winds up digitized inside the mainframe when the MCP uses an experimental laser to dissect him. Flynn must navigate his way around a strange digital landscape where all the programs resemble the users that created them and find his way back out.

Tron Sticker From 1982 Image Three
My sticker from 1982 and my date’s name
(high school classmate).

Trivia Bits:
♦ [T]he Motion Picture Academy refused to nominate Tron for a special-effects award because, as director Steven Lisberger put it, “The Academy thought we cheated by using computers”.
♦ Originally MacBird envisioned Flynn more comedically, suggesting the then-30-year-old Robin Williams for the role.
Bruce Boxleitner and Peter Jurasik would later work together on Babylon 5.
♦ Nine script revisions caused bitter credit disputes.
♦ Though it made $50 million from a $17 million budget and had $70 million in merchandise sales, it was considered a financial failure.
♦ The ENCOM laser bay was real. It was actually the target bay for the twenty-beam SHIVA solid-state laser facility at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
The soundtrack was primarily composed by Wendy Carlos with two additional tracks provided by Journey after Supertramp had to leave the project.

Additional Reading:
Bruce & Cindy Discuss Deleted Scenes (Beyond The Marquee/12-24-2013)
Tron Then and Now (Digital Content Producer/Archive/07-07-2012)
Deleted Love Scene (Fandom Wiki)
Tron 30th Anniversary Screening Review (Nuke The Fridge/10-30-2012)
Tron’s 20th Anniversary (SFGate/01-09-2002)

Awards & Nominations

End of line…

Opening Scene (Missing Prologue)

Officially Deleted Scene

Bruce Boxleitner & Cindy Morgan @ California Convention
(helmets coming off mentioned) 11-16-2013

Wayback Wednesday: Athenian Coup 411

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Ancient Athens History Brewminate Image
Image Credit: brewminate.com

The Athenian Coup of 411 BC was a revolutionary movement during the Peloponnesian War between Athens and Sparta that overthrew the democratic government of ancient Athens and replaced it with a short-lived oligarchy known as The Four Hundred. The movement was led by a number of prominent and wealthy Athenians who held positions of power in the Athenian army at Samos, in coordination with Alcibiades (and Antiphon) who promised to deliver Persian support to Athens if the democracy was overthrown. Negotiations with Alcibiades eventually broke down as he proved incapable of delivering his promise. Nevertheless, the leaders of the oligarchic movement went forward with their plans to overthrow Athenian democratic government.

The Four Hundred government in Athens suffered from instability as conflict soon arose between moderates and extremists among the oligarchs. The moderates, led by Theramenes and Aristocrates, called for the replacement of The Four Hundred with a broader oligarchy of “the 5,000” […]. After the leader of the extremists Phrynichus was assassinated, the moderates grew bolder and arrested an extremist general in Piraeus. A confrontation ensued, which ended with the hoplites in Piraeus tearing down the new fortification. Several days later, the Four Hundred were officially replaced by “the 5,000”, who ruled for several more months until after the Athenian victory at Cyzicus.

Military Wiki

Additional Reading:
The Oligarchic Coup in Athens (Brewminate Blog)
Council of the Four Hundred (Britannica)
The Oligarchic Coup of 411 (Thomas R. Martin/Tufts University)
Athenian Coup of 411 (Wikipedia)

Movie Monday: Casual Encounters 2016

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Casual Encounters Poster IMDb & Amazon Image
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Five years ago, today, the film Casual Encounters was released. Directed by Zachary Adler, it was written by Sebastian J. Michael and Erik Steinmetz. Filmed in Los Angeles, it starred Taran Killam, Brooklyn Decker, David Krumholtz, Mark Boone Junior, David Arquette, Sienna Farall and Aimee-Lynn Chadwick.

When Justin’s girlfriend of five years leaves him heartbroken and embarrassed after a public breakup, his “trying to be helpful” but, somewhat misguided friends talk him into the strange world of on-line dating.

IMDb Plot Summary

With easy access to HD equipment, aspiring filmmakers can now make low-budget movies which look very slick. However, there’s not much [that] can be done for bad acting. Most every movie genre is difficult to master but, the raunchy sex comedy may be one of the most difficult. [They] struggle to find a balance between lewd jokes which often involve bodily fluids and anything remotely clever or interesting. Sadly, [this movie] doesn’t come close to finding this balance or presenting anything which is remotely humorous. The line between cringe-worth and funny is very thin but, this movie isn’t even close enough to the line…

Mike Long
DVD Sleuth
June 1, 2016

Hmmm…sounds like a dog of a movie, even with David Krumholtz (Numb3rs TV Series). ~Vic

Song Saturday: Machinehead

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Bush Machinehead Image
Image Credit: eil.com

“Leaning on my conscience wall…”

This Saturday’s song submission, from my Samsung playlist, is Machinehead by the British alternative grunge rock band Bush, formed in London, England, in 1992. The seventh track from the album Sixteen Stone, it was the fifth and final single from their 1994 debut. Released April 9, 1996, it was written by lead singer Gavin Rossdale. It reached #1 on the Canada Rock/Alternative chart, #3 on the UK’s Rock & Metal chart and, #4 on Billboard’s Alternative Airplay & Mainstream Rock charts.

The song won the MTV Movie Award for Best Song from a Movie (1997) and was nominated for the MTV Music Video Awards Best Video from a Film (Fear 1996).

Rossdale’s dog, Wilson, makes an appearance in the video.

Media Appearances
Bush Official (Website)

Lyrics

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Eleven-Pick Eight-Love Actually 2003

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Love Actually Poster IMDb Image One
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Eleven pick.

Category: Romance/Holiday/Animation
Film: Love Actually

All I have to say is, this is a great movie. It will make you laugh. It will make you cry. ~Vic

Written and directed by Richard Curtis (with six producers in tow), this is a Christmas romance romp with an all-star ensemble cast, mostly comprised of Brits. There are ten separate stories, that become interwoven in places…with one exception. This was Curtis’s Directorial Debut.

Filmed primarily in London, production was a collaboration between the US, the UK & France, with the first release on September 7, 2003, at the Toronto International Film Festival.

The movie opens with Prime Minister David talking about the state of the world.

[1] Rock and Roll legend Billy Mack records a Christmas version of the song Love Is All Around (by The Troggs). He thinks it’s crap but, he promotes it, anyway. He spends Christmas with his manager Joe and, you can see him on various TV sets throughout the movie.
[2] Best man Mark (a very young Andrew Lincoln sans Colt Python) is in love with Peter’s soon-to-be wife, Juliet, though they both believe that Mark dislikes her. He declares his love with cue cards on Christmas Eve.
[3] Jamie discovers his girlfriend is having an affair with his brother. He meets Aurélia but, she doesn’t speak any English. He learns Portuguese to communicate his love for her.
[4] Harry & Karen are happily married and raising their children. Mia is Harry’s new secretary. He is drawn to her and nearly destroys his marriage over her.
[5] Karen’s brother is David, the Prime Minister. He finds himself attracted to staffer Natalie and having to deal with the U.S. President.

Interconnections Wikipedia Image One
Image Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

[6] Daniel, Karen’s friend, is still mourning the loss of his wife, Joanna. His step-son Sam is interested in an American classmate, also named Joanna. Sam shows his affection for Joanna at the airport (before she returns to the US). Daniel crosses paths with Carol and is interested.
[7] Sarah works for Harry and is in love with Karl. Karl is interested but, Sarah’s mentally ill brother Michael is an issue.
[8] Colin tells his friend Tony that he is traveling to America to try to woo some women there. He meets Stacey, Jeannie and Carol-Anne in Milwaukee and they invite him to stay with them. Roommate Harriet shows up, later.
[9] John (a young Martin FreemanArthur Dent/Bilbo Baggins) and Judy meet as nude stand-ins for a film that Tony is a production assistant for. Comfortable with each other simulating sex, they are shy with clothes on, later.
[10] Rufus is a jewelry salesman, wrapping Harry’s gift for Mia and, he assists Sam at the airport in getting to Joanna before her flight. He was, originally, to be a Christmas angel but, a script re-write removed that part of the story.

Bill Nighy & Ladies Image Three
The video for Billy Mack’s [Christmas single] is a reference to
a series of […] videos by Robert Palmer.
Image Credit: IMDb

Trivia Bits:
♦ Knowing about Billy Bob Thornton’s quite unusual fear of antique furniture, Hugh Grant would sometimes flash a piece of antique [furniture] (which is abundant in England) in front of Thornton just before the cameras rolled and watch him freak out in amusement (an issue that is part of the dialogue in Sling Blade).
Simon Pegg was considered for the role of Rufus.
♦ For the role of her lovelorn character Karen, Emma Thompson has said that she drew on the immense heartbreak she experienced over former husband Kenneth Branagh’s affair with Helena Bonham Carter with whom he had co-starred, and directed, in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994). This extramarital affair ultimately led to their divorce in 1995.
♦ The airport greeting footage at the beginning and end of this movie is real. Writer/director Curtis had a team of cameramen film at Heathrow airport for a week and, whenever they saw something that would fit in, they asked the people involved for permission to use the footage.
♦ For her one-minute cameo, Claudia Schiffer received a reported £200,000 (roughly $300,000 U.S.).

Additional Reading:
Epilogue
Full Cast List
How We Made Love Actually (The Guardian/12-16-2013)

Story Sunday: The War On Computers

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Weird Universe Image One
Image Credit: Weird Universe
San Francisco Examiner
10-27-1968

The International Society for the Abolition of Data-Processing Machines […] was founded by Harvey Matusow in the late 1960s. Its aim was “to conduct guerrilla warfare against the computer by such means as sending a penny too much or too little when paying a utility bill.”

Matusow also authored The Beast of Business, which was supposed to serve as a manual for the guerrilla warfare against the computer. I wonder if any of the techniques he detailed would still work today?

However, Matusow is best known for giving evidence in court against individuals during the McCarthy era. Later, he claimed that the FBI had paid him to give false testimony and he detailed these allegations in his book False Witness.

He seems to have had a rather eccentric life and career. Some other highlights of it, from the University of Sussex’s page about him:
♦ Founded a band called the Harvey Matusow’s Jew’s Harp Band
♦ Married approximately twelve times
♦ Is possibly part of the reason The Beatles broke up – he held the party where John Lennon met Yoko Ono
♦ Worked as a children’s TV clown called Cockyboo in Tucson, Arizona
Converted to Mormonism and spent his last years known as Job Matusow

Alex Boese
Weird Universe
May 29, 2021

Additional Reading:
Frustrations: Guerrilla War Against Computers (Time Magazine/09-12-1969)

Music Monday: The Ballad of Captain Kidd 1701

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Captain William Kidd Image One
Captain William Kidd
Artist: James Thornhill
Image Credit: Wikipedia & Wikimedia

Three hundred, twenty years ago, yesterday, Scottish Sea Captain William Kidd was hanged at Execution Dock in London at low tide:

[P]roceedings against [Kidd] had been long and notorious. The actions for which he was tried had been still more notorious, one involving murder and five [involving] piracy. His career had been brief, brilliant in the beginning [but], catastrophic at the end. The general excitement at the time of his execution and, all during his imprisonment in London, had been at [a] fever pitch. Gossip went to work and, the wildest of tales of Kidd’s wickedness and wealth were believed. […] Upon his death, numerous accounts, both factual and fictitious, appeared.

William Hallam Bonner
University of Buffalo
American Literature, Vol. 15, No. 4, Jan. 1944
Journal Storage

Kidd was commissioned by King William III (William of Orange) as a Privateer and carried a license to hunt pirates, reserving 10% of any bounty acquired for the Crown. His murder charge was the result of the killing of crew member William Moore, his gunner, during a near mutiny.

Of all the things written and expressed, the ballad Captain Kid’s Farewel to the Seas (or the Famous Pirate’s Lament) was the only thing to survive. It was quite popular in the Colonies where the Captain had a home and may be considered America’s first folk legend. There is a British version and an American version, which changed the Captain’s first name to Robert for some strange reason and, several contemporary covers. The last website, below, has his name as John. He had to be hanged, twice, as the rope broke the first time. ~Vic

Additional Reading:
Captain Kidd Lyrics (David Kidd Website/Wayback Machine)
Captain Kidd Song (Wikipedia)
The Ballad of Captain Kidd (Chivalry Website Archive)
Wizard of the Seas (Ex-Classics Website)

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Nine-Pick One-Infamous 2006

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Infamous Poster IMDb & Amazon Image One
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Nine pick.

Category: Historical/Biographical/Political
Film: Infamous

Gore Vidal: […on Truman’s voice…] “To the lucky person who has never heard it, I can only say…imagine what a brussel sprout would sound like, if a brussel sprout could talk.”

Truman Capote: […on Smith & Hickock…] “When you’re talking to them, they seem like perfectly nice boys. To be frank, I’m much more concerned for my safety around Norman Mailer.”

This is the second movie on Truman Capote regarding his foray into the Clutter Family murders. Released August 31, 2006, at the Venice Film Festival and widely on October 13, 2006, this film stood in the shadow of Philip Seymour Hoffman‘s Capote and his Academy Award for Best Actor. Unlike its predecessor, this film, with its $13 million budget, lost money. That being said, despite Hoffman’s turn, Toby Jones is no slouch and his interpretation has its own unique depth. Jones was awarded the London Critics’ Circle Film Award for British Actor of the Year. I found this film to be fascinating and quite entertaining, with parts difficult to watch. Bubbly Sandra Bullock brings forth the subdued, Southern To Kill A Mockingbird novelist Harper Lee. Much of the storytelling is done in mock interviews with the actors, in character, talking about their interactions with Truman. I seem to have a thing for underdog/obscure movies. ~Vic

Written and directed by Douglas McGrath, the movie is based on George Plimpton’s book Truman Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career (1997). Produced by John Wells & Christine Vachon, (a pre-James Bond) Daniel Craig is Perry Smith, Peter Bogdanovich is Bennett Cerf (Random House Publishing Co-Founder), Jeff Daniels is Alvin Dewey (Kansas Bureau of Investigation Special Agent), Hope Davis is Slim Keith (ex-wife of Producer & Director Howard Hawks), Gwyneth Paltrow has a singing cameo as Kitty Dean (a Peggy Lee clone and possible reference to The Royal Family play), Isabella Rossellini is Marella Agnelli (Italian Princess and wife of the Chairman of Fiat Automobiles), Juliet Stevenson is Diana Vreeland (Editor-in-Chief of Vogue), Sigourney Weaver is Babe Paley (wife of CBS founder William Paley), Lee Pace is Richard Hickock, John Benjamin Hickey is Jack Dunphy (Capote’s partner) and Michael Panes is Gore Vidal (writer and Democrat party candidate).

Toby Jones Sandra Bullock IMDb & Amazon Image Two
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

“Why shouldn’t there be a fizzy, comedic take on the naughty adventures of the Park Avenue gadabout as he fashioned In Cold Blood […]? Why not a movie that concentrates on the contrast between the writer’s frivolous party-boy side and the brutal murders in Kansas, the exotic and colorful tropical specimen who becomes a fish-out-of water when he jumps from his luxurious high-rise swan pond into the Midwestern plains?

[A]fter In Cold Blood, [Capote] never published another major work. Out of career desperation as much as anything else, he sold out his friendships with these […] people, publishing gossipy stories about them in an Esquire excerpt from Answered Prayers in 1976 and was banished from their lives.

[T]he movie centers on the symbiotic relationship between Truman and Perry, pondering the extent of the seduction and, who seduced whom.

Toby Jones inhabits Truman as if he were to the character born, a livelier and more perversely ebullient man than Phillip Seymour Hoffman‘s version in Capote (2005).”

Truman On The Rocks
Roger Ebert
October 12, 2006

Trivia Bits:
Mark Walberg was to play Perry Smith, originally but, dropped out. Mark Ruffalo was next but, dropped out, as well.
♦ Sigourney Weaver portrays the wife of a CBS Executive and is the daughter of NBC Executive Pat Weaver.
Michelle Pfeiffer was to play Slim Keith, originally.

Additional Reading:
The Story Behind A Non-Fiction Novel (George Plimpton/New York Times Archive/1997)

Warner Brothers Trailer

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Seven-Pick Six-Cop Land 1997

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Cop Land Miramax IMDb & Amazon Image One
Photo Credit: Miramax, IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Seven pick.

Category: Crime/Film Noir
Film: Cop Land

Written and directed by James Mangold, it was executive produced by the Weinstein brothers (though their names have been removed from the Wikipedia article). Released August 6, 1997 in New York (premiere) and nationwide on August 15, it was an incredible ensemble cast of Sly Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Robert Patrick, Peter Berg, Janeane Garafalo, Edie Falco, Michael Rapoport, Annabella Sciorra, John Spencer, Cathy Moriarty, Noah Emmerich, Frank Vincent, Malik Yoba, Arthur Nascarella and, cameos of Deborah Harry & Geraldo Rivera.

Sylvester Stallone put on 40 pounds to play Nowheresville, N.J., sheriff Freddy Heflin in Cop Land […]. His town is run by Ray Donlan (Keitel) and the other New York cops who have settled there with their families. He wears blinders when it comes to their lawbreaking and mob dealings. Moe Tilden (De Niro), the internal-affairs officer out to get the goods on Cop Land, correctly pegs Freddy as “a man looking for something to do.” Keitel’s [Donlan] exudes dangerous energy. He cares for his own as long as they don’t cross him […]. Robert Patrick brings sly menace to Rucker […]. Ray Liotta […], as Gary Figgis, [is] a tainted cop who sides with Freddy.

Mangold […] has a rare talent for finding the human drama in ordinary lives.

Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
August 15, 1997

Stallone IMDb & Amazon Image Two
Photo Credit: IMDb

Writer-director James Mangold […] wrangles an impressive cast […] and spins a compelling tale of cancerous corruption among a secretive group of New York’s finest who have settled in the fictional New Jersey burg of Garrison. [Stallone] indeed looks chunky and plays the sleepy, docile Sheriff […] with sluggishness to spare in a largely commendable performance as a half-deaf small-town dreamer. [He] is not given much in the way of memorable dialogue but, he makes the character work […]. [Having] yet to replace his LP of The River with a CD, [he] carries a torch for the local Jersey girl (Sciorra) he saved from drowning…the reason for his loss of hearing in one ear…[he] once longed to be a big-city cop but, had to settle for policing them.

Freddy gradually realizes that he doesn’t like how the town has turned out.

David Hunter
The Hollywood Reporter
August 11, 1997

I saw this at the theater when it came out and caught it, again, a few nights ago. I was born and raised in law enforcement and, worked in it, too (non-sworn). I’ve known good cops and I’ve known some really bad ones. I love a well written cop movie and this was an unusual one in that Stallone wasn’t playing a bad ass like Rambo, Cobra, Tango, John Spartan (though I do love that movie) or Ray Quick. This character was different…subdued. His scenes with Annabella Sciorra have Springsteen playing in the background which adds depth and texture to the mood. This is clearly a period piece as all the vehicles, hair cuts and clothing styles are, effectively, early 80s. The River came out in 1980 and music from the Director’s Cut, like Blue Oyster Cult‘s Burnin’ For You came out in 1981. This also manages to cover the Crime category via IMDb and the Film Noir category, simultaneously, via Historical Dictionary of Film Noir (2010). ~Vic

Trivia Bits:
There is a disclaimer at the end of the credits which states “This film is a work of fiction. It is currently illegal for New York City Police officers to live outside the state of New York.”
♦ Arthur J. Nascarella was a real-life NYPD officer.
Debbie Harry acted in the movie but, was edited out in the final cut. She explained on a live television special that although she was cut, she still got paid.
♦ In the scene in which Ray Liotta confronts Robert Patrick in the bar, the dart that Liotta shoves up Patrick’s left nostril was made out of rubber.
♦ Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and John Travolta were considered for Sheriff Freddy Heflin.

Stallone’s Variety Interview 2019

Awards & Nominations

The Making of an Urban Western

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Six-Pick Two-El Dorado 1966

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El Dorado Poster IMDb & Amazon Image
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Six pick.

Category: Western/War
Film: El Dorado

Mississippi: “[…] My name is Alan Bourdillion Traherne.”
Cole: “Lord Almighty…”

Sheriff Harrah: “Who is he?”
Cole: “Tell him your name, Mississippi.”
Mississippi: [sigh] “Alan Bourdillion Traherne.”
Sheriff Harrah: “Well, no wonder he carries a knife.”

Mississippi: “Always make you mad, don’t I?”
Cole: “Mostly.”

Produced and directed by Howard Hawks, the film is a loose adaption of The Stars in Their Courses, a 1960 novel by Harry Brown. The screenplay was written by Leigh Brackett and starred John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, James Caan, Charlene Holt, Paul Fix, Arthur Hunnicutt, Michele Carey, R. G. Armstrong, Ed Asner, Christopher George and Johnny Crawford. Jim Davis (Jock Ewing) and John Mitchum have small parts. It was released December 17, 1966, in Japan, oddly and didn’t make it to US theaters until June 7, 1967.

Eldorado Edgar Allan Poe Poem Pinterest Image Two
Image Credit: Pinterest

Cole Thornton (Wayne) is a gunslinger for hire and land owner Bart Jason (Asner) has offered him a job. J. P. Harrah (Mitchum) is a Sheriff and an old friend of Cole’s. When Harrah informs Cole of Jason’s intention to use him to push the MacDonald family off of their land for water rights, Cole refuses the job. After shooting the youngest MacDonald son, unintentionally, during a volley of gunfire, Cole is wounded by the MacDonald daughter (Carey), in return, after he brings the deceased boy back home. Cole suffers intermittent paralysis on his right side throughout the rest of the movie. With the help of a gambler (Caan) he crosses paths with and the Sheriff’s deputy (Hunnicutt), Cole straightens out the drunken Sheriff, tangles with another gunslinger (George), derails Jason’s takeover and just might stop his previous ways for his lady, Maudie (Holt).

Mississippi repeats parts of the Edgar Allen Poe poem (except the second stanza) during the film, aggravating Cole somewhat (Caan had trouble with the word “boldly”, slurring it to sound like either “bowlie” or “bodie”). He’s also terrible with a gun and couldn’t hit the broadside of a barn (but, I love that hat!). Cole gets him a shotgun and later regrets it as he has scatter shot in his leg at the end of the movie.

This is my favorite John Wayne movie even though it is an ensemble cast. A close second is The Quiet Man where Wayne played another “Thornton” character. ~Vic

Trivia Bits:
Archival footage of this movie was used in The Shootist as some backstory for Wayne’s character J.B. Books.
The artwork in the opening credits was painted by Olaf Wieghorst, the Swedish gunsmith.
♦ At the end of the movie, both Cole & Harrah are on crutches under the wrong arm.
♦ The bathtub scene was Mitchum’s idea.
♦ Mitchum’s brother was a bartender named Elmer. He called him by his real name by accident.
♦ Wayne and Asner did not get along.

Other Goofs (There are a lot.)
Nominations

Opening Credits

Caan on Wayne

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Five-Pick Two-The Ninth Gate 1999

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Novis Portis Book IMDb & Amazon Image
Umbrarum Regni Novem Portis
The Nine Doors (or Gates) to the Kingdom of Shadows
Aristide Torchia, Venice, 1666
Image Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Five pick.

Category: Foreign/Silent
Film: The Ninth Gate

A French/Spanish Roman Polanksi vehicle (director & producer), he co-wrote the screenplay with John Brownjohn and Enrique Urbizu. Loosely based on the 1993 book El Club Dumas, a Spanish language novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte Gutiérrez, the Polanski/Brownjohn script removed a sub-plot, changed the two main characters’ names and altered the finale. Filmed in France, Portugal and Spain, it stars Johnny Depp (Corso), Frank Langella (Balkan), Lena Olin, Barbara Jefford and, Emmanuelle Seigner (mysterious woman & Polanski’s wife). Actor Allen Garfield suffered a stroke prior to filming and Polanski incorporated Garfield’s paralysis as part of the character. Released August 25, 1999, in Belgium, France and Spain (premiere), and November 1999 at the Stockholm International Film Festival, it wasn’t released, widely, in the US until March 10, 2000.

I would have to describe the movie like this…:

[It] is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma…

Winston Churchill
October 1, 1939

Dean Corso is a bit of a sleazy rare book dealer from New York with questionable ethics. Boris Balkan, a wealthy collector, hires Corso to determine if a book he owns (the book to the left/above) is authentic. The author, supposedly, wrote the book with help from the Devil and only three copies of the book are known to exist after the author was burned at the stake during the Inquisition, along with his works. Corso must find the other two to complete his investigation. Balkan believes that the owner of the book would have the power to summon said Devil. As the skeptical Corso travels and searches, he is followed by a mysterious woman. He eventually becomes obsessed with his task and desires the complete truth. The movie twists and turns to it’s bizarre ending. Depp is a strange cat but, he makes really interesting movies. Visually, Polanski intended for Corso to resemble Philip Marlowe. ~Vic

Additional Reading:
The Ninth Gate (Roger Ebert)
The Ninth Gate Opens (Philip Coppens Web Archive)

Hans 2021 Movie Draft: Round Three-Pick Five-The Other Side Of The Mountain 1975

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Sports Illustrated 1955 Live Auctioneer Image
Image Credit: Live Auctioneers
Apple Pie in Sun Valley (S.I. Archive)

Hanspostcard has a movie draft challenge. This is my Round Three pick.

Category: Documentary/Sports
Film: The Other Side of the Mountain

“You know where you’ll find sympathy in the dictionary, don’t ya’? Between shit and suicide.”

Directed by Larry Peerce, the movie is based on the 1966 novel A Long Way Up by E. G. Valens, written about national slalom ski champion (1955) and a 1956 U.S. Olympic skiing team candidate, Jill Kinmont. Produced by Edward Feldman, the screenplay adaption was written by David Seltzer. Jill is played by Marilyn Hassett and, Beau Bridges plays Olympic skiing team member (1952) and stunt pilot Dick “Mad Dog” Buek. Dabney Coleman plays Coach Dave McCoy and Bill Vint plays Buddy Werner. Belinda Montgomery plays Audra Jo or “A.J.”, Jill’s best friend, Nan Martin plays June Kinmont and William Bryant plays Bill Kinmont. Griffin Dunne has a small part.

The film spans Jill’s slalom races to her national championship, her best friend’s polio contraction, her accident while attempting to win the Alta, UT, Snow Cup, her hospital stay, her slow rehabilitation, her heartbreak from the losses of two dear men and her triumph at becoming a teacher.

The Other Side of the Mountain IMDb & Amazon Image
Photo Credit: IMDb & Amazon

Dick Buek was killed in a plane crash on November 3, 1957, two days shy of his 28th birthday (Club of 27?). Buddy Werner was killed in an avalanche in Switzerland on April 12, 1964.

Released July 25, 1975, the film was panned by critics for being too much of a tear-jerker. That may be true but, she did have a really hard time. The sequel was released February 10, 1978 and was panned even worse. I saw them in reverse order. I was only nine years old when the first movie came out so, I didn’t get to see it until I was an adult. I saw Part II, first, when it was released to television. I enjoyed both films despite the bad reviews. Sometimes, bringing someone’s life story to the big screen is handled poorly. Jill passed away February 9, 2012.

Awards & Nominations

Additional Reading:
An Amazing Interview/Jill Kinmont Boothe (Ezine Articles)
The Mad Dog of Donner Summit (Sierra Sun)
The Death of a True Hero (Wired)

The Complete Movie