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  • mistermuse 4:00 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: African Queen, Beat The Devil, , , , , , Katherine Hepburn, , , , The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,   

    THE TREASURE OF JOHN HUSTON 

    Huston would have agreed with [Orson] Welles, who declared, “I’m awfully tired of old men saying they have no regrets. We’re loaded with, burdened with, staggering under, regrets.” –Jeffrey Meyers, from his biography JOHN HUSTON: COURAGE AND ART

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    I must admit that JOHN HUSTON (born August 5, 1906) is not the kind of human being I admire — however, he IS the kind of film maker I admire. Yes, he made his share of clunkers, but few directors made more of my all-time favorite films than he: The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, Beat The Devil — and yet, he had more than his share of things to regret, as he himself admitted (more on that shortly).

    But first, here are two classic scenes from THE TREASURE OF THE SIERRA MADRE:

    The second scene features the great actor Walter Huston (father of John) doing his incomparable dance in the gold-flecked dirt of the Sierra Madre mountains:

    Getting back to John Huston’s regrettable qualities, Jeffrey Meyers (in his excellent bio) compares Huston to Ernest Hemingway: “Hemingway had four wives, Huston had five (and all of his marriages ended badly). Each married increasingly younger women and, while married, fell in love with a series of women even younger than their wives. Huston, however, [unlike Hemingway] was unashamedly promiscuous. Both had three children and were difficult, demanding and frequently absent fathers.”

    “In the last paragraph of his autobiography, Huston brooded over his guilty regrets about family, finances, alcohol, tobacco and matrimony. Huston could be noble, generous and kind, as well as selfish, callous and cruel. But he should be remembered for his intellect, his imagination and his charm.”

    I, of course, cannot remember him thusly because I did not know him. But I can remember him for his films, and so I do. Who could forget the black bird….

    ….or The African Queen:

    One of those clunkers I mentioned was THE BIBLE (1966), an ungodly bad epic which he both directed and starred in. But those can be forgiven in light of the above trinity of masterpieces. If that doesn’t Beat The Devil….

     

     

     

     
    • magickmermaid 4:33 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      The Maltese Falcon and African Queen are two of my favourite films. Strange, but I’ve never hear of Beat the Devil. I always learn something new on your blog. 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

      • mistermuse 4:51 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Beat the Devil probably belongs in the category CULT CLASSIC, in that it’s not widely known but has a modest following of devoted fans. I haven’t seen it in years, even on TCM, which I watch regularly.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Rivergirl 5:40 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Love those old Bogey films. But yes, Huston was an odd duck.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:16 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Bogey may have been in more classic films than any actor I can think of, from HIGH SIERRA (screenplay by John Huston) and CASABLANCA to THE AFRICAN QUEEN and THE HARDER THEY FALL (his final film). There was only one Bogey!

        Liked by 1 person

    • calmkate 7:56 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      what a trip down memory lane, always learn something new and enjoyed these clips!

      Liked by 1 person

    • D. Wallace Peach 10:11 pm on August 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I just watched The African Queen with my parents a few weeks ago. Huston was quite a good director, but I’m also glad I didn’t know him. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 12:26 am on August 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I just read in another book that Huston was driving drunk in 1933 when he struck and killed a passerby, but it was hushed up and he never paid the consequences. So much for the farce that “no man is above the law.”

        Liked by 1 person

        • D. Wallace Peach 10:50 am on August 6, 2020 Permalink

          Ugh. Oh, to be rich and powerful. We see what happens when someone is above the law, don’t we?

          Liked by 1 person

        • mistermuse 11:32 am on August 6, 2020 Permalink

          Considering that Huston didn’t include that incident among his “guilty regrets” in his autobiography, he must have still thought of himself as a privileged character.

          Like

    • The Coastal Crone 6:18 pm on August 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Love all these old guys!

      Liked by 1 person

    • Elizabeth 6:01 pm on August 8, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I loved the trailer for “The Maltese Falcon.” Thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:42 am on August 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You’re very welome. I love that trailer too. What great character actors there were in that film!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Elizabeth 3:38 pm on August 9, 2020 Permalink

          Every winter exam period in college we attended a Bogart festival, so I saw that film four times.

          Liked by 1 person

    • Silver Screenings 10:10 pm on August 9, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      I own a copy of John Huston’s memoirs, but have not been able to bring myself to read it. I think, deep down, I just don’t want to know too much.

      However, he was one of the great filmmakers, and some of his films are among my faves.

      So glad you featured his work on your site today. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:16 am on August 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I ‘get’ how you feel about Huston, SS. Sometimes we must separate the art from the artist. If we can’t do that, we only truncate our capacity to objectively appreciate artistry as it stands, on its own terms.

        Liked by 1 person

    • waywardsparkles 7:50 pm on August 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Dang, MM, the list of movies I need to see keeps growing. Maltese Falcon, Sierra Madre, African Queen and Casablanca. Okay. Now I need to find the time to sit down and watch them all! Mona

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 10:58 pm on August 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Mona, all I can say is that you won’t be wasting your time with any of those movies. If I were you, I’d start with Casablanca because becoming a classic film buff begins with the gold standard for classic films (Casablanca). Happy viewing!

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Golden Age films, , , , , Katherine Hepburn, , Shop Around the Corner, , summertime, Van Johnson   

    SUMMER SHORTS 

    Tomorrow is the first official day of smelly armpits season (unless, of course, you live in the southern hemisphere of earth — or in any hemisphere of Ur-anus, where, they say, it stinks the year round). To greet the season, I’m saluting summer with a look back at several good old summer films (and I mean films that actually have “summer” in the title).

    It’s unthinkable that there’s no unstinkable way of sweating as I wrack my brain composing a fulsome introduction to each movie, so I’ll make do with a minimum of b.s. (background setting) preceding each clip….then sum(mer) it all up with bonus b.s. at post’s end.

    First we have SUMMERTIME (1955), starring Katherine Hepburn as a spinster vacationing in Venice. After meeting and being attracted to shop owner Rossano Brazzi in his antiques store, they unexpectedly encounter each other again in this scene:

    Next: IN THE GOOD OLD SUMMERTIME (1949) starring Judy Garland & Van Johnson as lonelyhearts pen pals in a musical remake of THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER (1940), directed by Ernst Lubitsch and starring Jimmy Stewart. Here is the trailer:

    Last we have SUMMER AND SMOKE (1961), a film adaptation of a Tennessee Williams play, neither of which I have seen, but which I include here because its title serves as a “Perfect!” lead-in to this anecdote told by the late actor Tony Randall (and which relates back to the first of our films):

    David Lean, one of the world’s finest directors, is a meticulous and fastidious craftsman, compulsive and uncompromising about getting things exactly the way he wants them. There is a scene in Summertime in which the [female] owner of a Venetian pensione arranges a tryst with a young American guest at night on the terrace of the pensione. Lean put the couple in two high-backed wicker chairs that completely envelope them,  placed with their backs to the camera so that all the lens could see were her left hand holding his right hand and puffs of white smoke from their cigarettes curling above the backs of the chairs. The brief scene, which could have been shot with any two people sitting in the chairs and the voices of the couple dubbed in later, took an entire night and a carton of cigarettes to film. Lean made the two actors do it over and over. Just as dawn was about to break, Lean finally got a shot that satisfied him.
    “Perfect! Perfect!” Lean exclaimed enthusiastically. “The puffs were perfect!”

    It seems we’ve come to the end  — but where, you might ask, is the promised “bonus b.s.”? Will you settle for the bonus without the b.s.? Here is the trailer for the aforementioned THE SHOP AROUND THE CORNER, directed by that master of “the Lubitsch touch” of happy memory to Golden Age film buffs:

     

     

     
    • Ricardo 12:51 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Apropos of nearly nothing, I noticed the other day that “Wet Hot American Summer” was available on Netflix, Sr. Muse. If that doesn’t make you want to subscribe, whatever will?

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 7:39 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        “Wet Hot American Summer’ sounds too cerebral for my tastes, Ricardo, but thanks anyway for the heads up.

        Like

    • linnetmoss 6:55 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I do love “The Shop Around the Corner”! When I hear about “Summertime,” I always think of the story that Hepburn fell into a Venetian canal and got a terrible ear infection. It may be a beautiful city, but the water is icky!

      Liked by 2 people

    • calmkate 7:27 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I remember that cane chair smoking scene well 🙂
      need to work on your bs …

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:32 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Linnet, I appreciate your comment. Perhaps I should should have noted in my post that SUMMERTIME was filmed on location in Venice. Here is the scene in which Hepburn falls into the canal:

      Like

    • Garfield Hug 7:51 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Lol!! “Season of smelly armpits!!” 😂😂

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 8:11 am on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Perhaps you’ve heard of the old phrase, “It’s the pits!” — it originally referred to stinky armpits, then came to metaphorically mean anything that stinks. And that’s my trivia lesson for today!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Don Frankel 5:37 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      We can’t have summer without..

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:39 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Don. For those who may wonder who is the singer with the beautiful soprano voice, her name is Harolyn (not a typo) Blackwell.

        Like

    • D. Wallace Peach 6:32 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      I haven’t seen any of your Summertime movies. I liked Hepburn as a kid and should pick that one up. I fell into a canal in Holland, so I can relate. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 6:51 pm on June 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Diana, no doubt your fall into the canal in Holland was no Dutch treat (except perhaps to a few juvenile bystanders who may have thought it was funny), but I’m sure you will find Kathryn Hepburn and SUMMERTIME to be a treat. Enjoy!

        Liked by 1 person

    • BroadBlogs 1:09 am on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      And from what I’m reading about climate change we could have smelly armpits a lot longer. Unfortunately accompanied by widespread heat alerts and drought in the west.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 7:28 am on June 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You’re right — climate change is the pits!

      Like

    • RMW 12:53 pm on June 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Summertime is one of my all-time favorite movies (I do have quite a few on my list). The romance between Hepburn and Brazzi left so much to the imagination, making it even more “romantic.” I can’t imagine either actor being willing to bare it all in front of the camera! Thank heavens…

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:00 am on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Gilbert and Sullivan, , , , Joseph Cotton, Katherine Hepburn, , , , , , ,   

    HIGH FIVE FOR FIVE STARS 

    Each of the five days since my last post was the birthday of at least one iconic figure in music or film who left lasting memories for those who appreciate legacies in artistry. I could easily go overboard writing in depth about any of these mid-May arrivals, but maybe it’s best to lessen my losses by not overly testing readers’ patience (O me of little faith!):

    May 11 — IRVING BERLIN (1888-1989). Perhaps the most prolific composer in American history, with an estimated 1,500 songs to his credit, including the scores for 19 Broadway shows and 18 Hollywood films (three of which were Astaire-Rogers musicals). Writing both words and music (relatively rare for his era), his hits include seasonal evergreens White Christmas and Easter Parade, as well as the red, white and blue God Bless America. His lyrics may lack the wit and sophistication of Cole Porter and Lorenz Hart, but there’s no denying the emotional appeal of such songs as….

    May 12 — KATHERINE HEPBURN (1907-2003). In the Golden Era of Hollywood, was there ever a more successful, fiercely independent woman than Katherine Hepburn?  Successful? It’s hard to argue against receiving a record four Academy Awards for Best Actress, and being named the greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema by the American Film Institute. Independent? Her own words say it all:

    “I have not lived as a woman. I have lived as a man. I’ve just done what I damn well wanted to, and I’ve made enough money to support myself, and ain’t afraid of being alone.” (Hard as it may be to imagine the Bryn Mawr-educated Hepburn uttering “ain’t,” I ain’t about to correct her quote.)

    “We are taught you must …. never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change, you’re the one who has got to change.”

    “As one goes through life, one learns that if you don’t paddle your own canoe, you don’t move.”

    “Life gets harder the smarter you get, the more you know.”

    “Politicians remain professional because the voters remain amateur.”

    NOTE: For my ode to another May 12 bundle of joy, see my post of May 12, 2015.

    May 13 — ARTHUR SULLIVAN (1842-1900). Can’t place the name? How about Arthur Sullivan of GILBERT AND SULLIVAN fame? Who doesn’t enjoy their great comic operas such as THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE, THE MIKADO and H.M.S. PINAFORE — the latter of which I have loved since When I was a Lad:

    May 14 — SIDNEY BECHET (1897-1959). This is a name you almost certainly can’t place unless you’re a classic jazz fan….but if you are such a fan, you know him as a major figure in jazz annals since his recording debut in 1923. New Orleans born, he spent the last decade of his life in France, where he died on the same day — May 14 — that he was born. Here he is on soprano sax in a 1950s recording from the soundtrack of Woody Allen’s magical MIDNIGHT IN PARIS:

    May 15 — JOSEPH COTTON (1905-1994). I have previously mentioned Joseph Cotton in regard to his co-starring role (with Orson Welles and Alida Valli) in one of my favorite films, THE THIRD MAN. He first met Welles in 1934, beginning a life-long friendship and on-and-off association with Welles in numerous plays, radio dramas and films, as well as co-starring with Katherine Hepburn in the 1939 Broadway play THE PHILADELPHIA STORY. But it is in his role as Holly Martens in THE THIRD MAN that he stands alone (literally so, in the end), and I can think of no more fitting way to end this post than with that indelible closing scene from the film (to the tune of Anton Karas’ Third Man Theme):

     
    • calmkate 3:49 am on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Nice to know I share my birthday with someone better known lol

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 9:10 am on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Being better known isn’t necessarily something admirable — in evidence, I offer that supreme IT’S-ALL-ABOUT-ME showman, Donald Trump. 😦

        Liked by 1 person

        • calmkate 3:55 pm on May 15, 2017 Permalink

          well you know how to burst a girls balloon .. what a truly terrible comparison … now I want to stay anonymous forever!

          Liked by 1 person

    • Jay 12:17 pm on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Isn’t it nice to imagine a big party where they’re all celebrating?

      Liked by 2 people

    • Don Frankel 12:41 pm on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Irving Berlin was born Israel Isidore Baline in what is now Belarus. I always think of that when I think of such songs as Easter Parade and White Christmas since he was a good Jewish boy.

      One of my relative’s relative was his Accountant.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:23 pm on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Don, Berlin once wrote a song titled I PAID MY INCOME TAX TODAY. It figures that he might have gotten the idea from your relative (the accountant).

      Like

    • Ricardo 6:02 pm on May 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      True dat about the voters, Sr. Muse

      Liked by 1 person

  • mistermuse 12:01 am on September 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Gustave Flaubert, Hillary, , Jerry Seinfeld, John Oliver, Katherine Hepburn, , , , ,   

    IN NO MOOD TO KNOW NEWS 

    Tomorrow, Sept. 11, is NO NEWS IS GOOD NEWS DAY, which celebrates a truism that isn’t necessarily true….but, if we apply it to covering this Presidential campaign season in America, no news would be good news every day until election day: No more being subjected to The Donald’s incessant Barnum-esque babblings, or to Hillary trying to overcome being Hillary. No more spin from their political shills on cable TV. No more polls. No more any of it. Let’s just vote and get it over with. I’m ready. I’ve been ready.

    Now that that’s settled, I am going to start the celebration a day early by not mentioning either candidate for the remainder of this post. Furthermore, I’m not going to subject you to my babblings for the rest of this post; instead, while I’m off celebrating, I’ll let what others have said on the subject of news take it from here. Is that good news, or what?

    But first, the news: The House of Commons was sealed off today [while in session] after police chased an escaped lunatic through the front door. A spokesman at Scotland Yard said it was like looking for a needle in a haystack. –Ronnie Barker

    It’s not a 24 hour news cycle, it’s a 60 second news cycle now, it’s instantaneous. It has never been easier to get away with telling lies. It has never been easier to get away with the glib one-liner. –Malcolm Turnbull

    We all want to get the news objectively, impartially, and from our own point of view. –Bill Vaughan

    Public opinion is the God of democracy, and the journalist is his prophet. –Evan Esar

    We are in the same tent as the clowns and the freaks — that’s show business. –Edward R. Murrow (broadcast journalist)

    It’s amazing that the amount of news that happens in the world every day always just exactly fits the newspaper. –Jerry Seinfeld

    The American news media has lowered the bar for all of humanity. British news media is definitely trying to stoop down to that level. Everyone is stooping to the lowest common denominator. –John Oliver

    I don’t care what is written about me so long as it isn’t true. –Katherine Hepburn

    Some people commit a crime for no other reason than to see their name in print. –Gustave Flaubert

    Live long enough and nothing is news. ‘The News’ is ‘the new thing.’  That’s fine, until a hundred years go by and you realize there are no new things, only deep structures and cycles that repeat themselves through different period details. –Glen Duncan

     

     

     

     
    • Carmen 6:18 am on September 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Speaking of such things, when I was visiting in Australia this past summer, ABC usually referred to him as, “The Other Fella”. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 8:12 am on September 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Would that “The Other Fella” were half as benign in his choice of names for others. 😦

      Like

    • Cynthia Jobin 9:34 am on September 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m with Jerry Seinfeld.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:53 am on September 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Likewise — but then, I’m with all of them — maybe the last one most of all, because I’ve gotten old enough to realize how true it is.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Cynthia Jobin 12:24 pm on September 10, 2016 Permalink

          Having already passed my biblical “three-score and ten” years of life, I know what you mean.

          Probably one of the oldest expressions of that belief is from the only bible book I really know (and the one I think got in there purely on poetic merit):

          “The thing that has been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”
          —Ecclesiastes 1:9

          Shakespeare had a funny take on that in one of his sonnets where he says we still run around like someone giving birth to a baby that’s already been born before:

          “If there be nothing new, but that which is,
          Hath been before, how are our brains beguil’d,
          Which, labouring for invention, bear amiss
          The second burden of a former child….”
          —Shakespeare, Sonnet 59

          Liked by 1 person

    • arekhill1 10:17 am on September 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Insert the glib one-liner of your choice here, Sr. Muse.

      Liked by 1 person

      • mistermuse 11:50 am on September 10, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        That would be work, which would take time away from my celebration (which, come to think of it, this has done anyway — but, for you, Ricardo, it’s worth the sacrifice).

        Like

    • Don Frankel 3:40 pm on September 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      No news for me today, just Jets, Giants and Yankees. Besides I think they just make it up as they go.

      Like

    • mistermuse 7:54 pm on September 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Don, if you had included the Mets, you would have batted .500, because they won (along with the Giants) while the Jets and Yankees lost. But if it makes you any happier, I won’t rub it in about the Bengals beating the Jets by one point, because the game could’ve gone either way. 🙂

      Like

    • BroadBlogs 4:17 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The American news media has lowered the bar for all of humanity. British news media is definitely trying to stoop down to that level. Everyone is stooping to the lowest common denominator. –John Oliver

      Pretty sad when a comedian has a better take on the news than the news media.

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 4:48 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Unlike Hillary, The Donald has played the media like a drum for months. If he wins, it will be because she seems never to get the hang of it or learn from what has caused her problems in the past. What a pity that someone so experienced keeps being her own worst enemy.

      Like

    • eths 11:13 pm on September 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Loved the video!

      Liked by 1 person

    • mistermuse 6:50 am on September 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks — the video is a clip from the 1947 movie musical based on the 1927 stage production “Good News” which included such hits as “Lucky In Love,” “The Best Things In Life Are Free” and the title song.

      Liked by 2 people

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