Tribute: Eli Wallach

Posted on June 25, 2014 at 9:35 am

One of the all-time great character actors, Eli Wallach, has died at age 98.  He leaves behind an extraordinary range of work, from iconic bad guys (The Magnificent Seven), to sweet old guys (The Holiday).

He appeared with Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, and Marilyn Monroe in “The Misfits.”

He was already fully at home on screen in his first film role, “Baby Doll” with Carroll Baker.

He appeared opposite Clint Eastwood in “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”

Eastwood later directed him in “Mystic River.”

Wallach often worked with his wife, actress Anne Jackson. Here she toasts him for his honorary Oscar.

His autobiography is The Good, the Bad, and Me: In My Anecdotage. He said the role he got the most fan mail for was Mr. Freeze on the old “Batman” television series. May his memory be a blessing.
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Actors Tribute

Tribute: Peter O’Toole

Posted on December 15, 2013 at 5:30 pm

Peter_O'Toole LawrenceI was very sad to hear of the passing of actor Peter O’Toole today at age 81.  The New York Times describes him well as “an Irish bookmaker’s son with a hell-raising streak whose magnetic performance in the 1962 epic film Lawrence of Arabia earned him overnight fame and put him on the road to becoming one of his generation’s most accomplished and charismatic actors.”  His electrifying blue eyes and thrum of neurotic intensity suited him perfectly to play the British man who helped lead an Arab revolt against the Turks in the 1917-18 and to become an icon for the upheavals of the 1960’s.  He had the tradition and technique classically trained actor and the legendary excesses of a rock star.  I love the interview that frequently runs on Turner Classic Movies, where he tells a story about working with David Lean on “Lawrence of Arabia.”  Lean told him to improvise a few moments of Lawrence enjoying his Arab garb. O’Toole came up with the idea that Lawrence might have wanted to look at himself and, without a mirror, checked out his reflection in the shiny blade of his knife.  O’Toole still remembered, years later, Lean watching him and his approving murmur, “Clever boy.”  With more Oscar nominations without winning than anyone else, O’Toole initially declined a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award in his 70’s, saying he was “still in the game and might win the bugger outright.”  He finally accepted one in 2003.

lion in winter o'toole hepburnO’Toole was such a commanding presence that it is easy to forget what a brilliant actor he was.  Even in flawed and lesser films like “High Spirits” and the musical version of “Goodbye Mr. Chips” he was still a fascinating presence.  Some of my favorite performances include the two times he played King Henry II, as young man in Becket opposite Richard Burton and as an old man in The Lion in Winter opposite Katherine Hepburn.

I also love him as the grandiose director in The Stunt Man, making a movie about WWI and covering up an accidental death on set by hiring a fugitive to take his place.  He enters in a helicopter, a god descending from Olympus to order the lives of mortals.

He is magnificent in My Favorite Year as a dissipated but still game swashbuckling movie star who is about to appear on a live television show. And as the art thief  who steals Audrey Hepburn’s heart as well as her fake Cellini statue in How to Steal a Million.  When she breathes, “Maaarvelous” at his strategy for getting around the art museum’s security system, we know she is really expressing her assessment of O’Toole’s character and the actor who plays him.  And we agree.


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Actors Tribute

Ask the Movie Mom

Posted on November 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm

Thanks for the great questions!

I’m trying to find out the name of a movie I saw back in the sixties, i’m not sure what year it was made. It was about a girl that just wants a simple married life but everytime she gets married her husbands end up getting rich and at the end she ends up back with her first boyfriend that was already rich but when they meet in the end he has lost his fortune.

One of my favorites! Shirley MacLaine in What a Way to Go! starring Paul Newman, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Mitchum, Dean Martin, and Gene Kelly and some of the wildest costumes ever!

I remember a children’s movie from probably the early to mid 80’s about children who invent a flying ‘bubble’ with their computer in the basement of their house.  They then make it large enough to ride in and have some fantastic adventures. Do you have any idea what this movie is?

That’s Explorers with Ethan Hawke and River Phoenix.

A father and son wind up toy mouses that are connected together. I believe the story takes place during Christmas holidays. Their adventures are on city streets and in a sewer with rats. A crow trying to catch them. I remember the movie from HBO as a kid. It was late 70’s or early 80’s. The movie starts with a scene of a snow falling and looking thru a toy store window from outside. The toy father and son mouse were on display.

A lovely movie: “The Mouse and His Child.”

I’m searching for a film title for a friend. they only know the plot and saw it a few years back on Sundance. A boy and girl are friends and play a game involving a box. the game consisits of dares. Whoever has the box dares the other to do something and if they do they in turn get the box. they grow older and apart but still continue the game. This person thinks the film is European. possibly French or Italian. would love an answer to this. Thanks.

That’s a Belgian film released in 2003, Love Me If You Dare originally titled “Jeux D’Enfants.”

A man and woman meet as they are both planning their weddings while their future partners are busy elsewhere. They spend time together and start to fall in love but in the end go their own way. Later they both cancel their wedding but don’t know this of each other. The man then writes a book about the whole experience. Upon hearing about the book the woman realizes it’s not too late and looks up the man. Happy ending.

That’s It Had to Be You with Michael Vartan and Natasha Henstridge.

The movie was in black & white and I believe it was made in the 40s, maybe 50s… I’ve seen it when I was young. A woman living in a big house near the sea thinks that the ghost who is haunting her house is her mother’s, and she feels protected but she is in danger. Another ghost, “the nurse” I think, is her real mother and protects her, but she doesn’t trust her. At the end she knows the truth…

One of my favorite spooky movies! Ray Milland and Ruth Hussey in The Uninvited, which introduced the classic song, “Stella By Starlight.”

Do you know a movie, I think an American one, in which at one point a shady psycho/hitman who wants something from our hero, gives a pet cat a drop of LSD at an apartment, which kills it? At the end the stand off involves the bad guy unwittingly drinking the LSD overdose which the girl friend of leading man has swapped for drink.

Great one! That is Dollars with Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty.


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