2001: A Space Odyssey "The Dawn of Man"

2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 science fiction film directed by Stanley Kubrick, written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke. Thoughts on the opening chapter "The Dawn of Man." Does the appearance of the geometric shape represent a contamination of the organic pristine environment by technology of civilization. Apes pick up bones discover tools and weapons the technology for civilization. Implications that carnivores are associated with aggression. Spread of civilization will be the theme of human history on earth. Exploration, war and conquest. Fast forward to an environment completely void of anything organic. Warfare has evolved from bones to nuclear weaponry. Human civilization has expanded exploration and conquest to space.

Hazel Scott Discovered!

I discovered This brown beauty in black and white, watching Rhapsody in Blue. She appeared in the production Priorities of 1942 and performed numerous times at the famed Carnegie Hall.
Her motion picture career included the films Something To Shout About, I Dood It, Broadway Rhythm, The Heat's On, and Rhapsody in Blue. She was known for improvising on classical themes and also played boogie-woogie, blues, and ballads. She was the first woman of color to have her own television show, The Hazel Scott Show.

Her album Relaxed Piano Moodson the Debut Record label with Charles Mingus and Max Roach, is the album most highly regarded by critics today.

She was married to U.S. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. from 1945 to 1956, by whom she had one child before their divorce, Adam Clayton Powell III. Enjoy these video clips. Rhapsody in Blue was removed from YouTube...copyright issues.

Takin' A Chance--Hazel Scott

Hazel Scott Body and Soul

Hazel Scott for the March of Dimes featuring Hazel Scott & Charles Mingus performing "Foggy Day"

TCM Behind the Scenes

We've moved from Studio-C to Studio-F for TCM. Special shoot ... on TwitPicOn the set of TCM with Robert Osborne. Checking lighting and ... on TwitPicStudio-C on the set of TCM with Robert Osborne, setting light... on TwitPic
Behind the scenes pics from shoot at Studio-C on the set of TCM with Robert Osborne provided by twitter @atlsat I follow on @pisceanii. You may have to be a TCM fanatic to appreciate this type of voyeurism! Click pic for larger view.

American Psycho's Misogynism: Gloria Steinem, I Disagree

Just got through looking at American Psycho and as usual to indulge my compulsion; looking up movie Wikipedia entry. Well it says:
Feminist activist Gloria Steinem was among those opposed to the release of Ellis' book because of its portrayal of violence towards women. Steinem is also the stepmother of Christian Bale, who portrayed Bateman in the film adaptation of the novel.

My thoughts are that misogynists are a fact of life. Men are most often misogynistic more often than not; therefore, the author is simply making his statements about the reality of a misogynistic superficial desensitized contemporary culture. I don't see this sexually explicit and violence novel as a promotion of either the sex or the violence but as exaggerated allegorical expression of what already exists.

The Apartment: Billy Wilder's homage to King Vidor's The Crowd

Watch scene at 2:45
When Billy Wilder made ''The Apartment'' in 1960, ''the organization man'' was still a current term. One of the opening shots in the movie shows Baxter as one of a vast horde of wage slaves, working in a room where the desks line up in parallel rows almost to the vanishing point. This shot is quoted from King Vidor's silent film ''The Crowd'' (1928), which is also about a faceless employee in a heartless corporation. Cubicles would have come as revolutionary progress in this world.--RogertEbert.com

Watch scene at 7:20

Imitation of Life: Race of Actresses playing Sara Jane

Before the 1959 version of Imitation of Life starring Lana Turner that Claudette Colbert starred in 1934 Academy Award nominated film by the same title based on Fannie Hurst's 1933 novel of the same name . The film was nominated for an Academy Award. In 2007 Time magazine named it among the "The 25 Most Important Films on Race".

Fredi Washington plays Peola, the daughter ashamed of her African-American heritage, that attempts to pass as white. The casting of such a role was a rare opportunity for a light-complexioned actresses of her time. In fact she was lucky to cast at all. Extremely fair skinned with green eyes she didn't fit the "maid" roles reserved for Negro actresses of her time.

The role had poignant meaning for Washington, as she turned down a number of opportunities to pass for white as an actress. If she had chosen to do so, she might have become a movie star. Of mixed race with a light complexion, green eyes, and great beauty, Washington found it hard to win roles and audiences given the limited opportunities of the time. She was too light skinned and elegant to play stereotypical "maid" roles. Because she was African American, however, Hollywood directors did not offer her romantic roles with leading white actors. General romances did not then feature African Americans. When Washington played roles in films for black audiences, she often wore heavy makeup to darken her skin.

After Imitation of Life, Washington had one more decent role (4th billing) in Fox's One Mile from Heaven (1937). Realizing that there was no future in Hollywood for an African-American actress with ivory-toned skin, Washington quit movies altogether and returned to New York to work in theater. -- Wikipedia

Unfortunately no opportunity was given to any light-complexioned actress for the 1959 remake. The actress playing Sarah Jane was not mulatto.

Although many African Americans were screen-tested for the corresponding Sarah Jane role in the 1959 remake, Susan Kohner, of Mexican and Czech Jewish descent, won the role. Karin Dicker, of Jewish decent, made her film debut as the young Sarah Jane in this film. -- Wikipedia

Billion Dollar Brain (1967): Alexander Nevsky's Ice battle

 name Billion Dollar Brain is a 1967 Ken Russell film based on the novel Billion-Dollar Brain by Len Deighton. The film features Michael Caine as secret agent 'Harry Palmer', the anti-heroic protagonist of the cinematic versions of The IPCRESS File (1964) and Funeral in Berlin (1965).
The film's plot relies heavily upon the sophisticated 'brain' (computer) with which the FFF controls its Latvian anti-Soviet spy network. The film directly refers to the ice battle in Alexander Nevsky (1938), by Sergei Eisenstein.

Ice Battle of Lake Peipus
Several films have scenes strongly influenced by the Battle of Lake Peipus, including Doctor Zhivago (1965), Mulan (1998), and King Arthur (2004). However, the most striking homage appears during the culminating battle in Billion Dollar Brain.

Alexander Nevsky (1938)
This Soviet film portrays the struggle of Prince Alexander Nevsky and the citizens of Novgorod against invasion by the knights of the Crusading Order of the Teutonic Knights, culminating in the epic battle on the ice of Lake Chudskoe (Peipius). Prince Alexander Nevsky was later canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church and became a Russian national hero. This film was produced on the eve of World War II and alludes to the threat of Nazi Germany (note the swastikas on the Catholic bishop's mitre). Its showing was suppressed during the period of German-Soviet Non-Agression pact (9/39 to 6/41), but revived after the Nazi invasion. It was directed by Sergei Eisenstein with Nikolai Cherkasov in the title role.


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