Showing posts with label Bobby Darin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bobby Darin. Show all posts

Thursday, June 30, 2022

Come September (1961)

In my latest YouTube video I discuss the sex comedy classic Come September (1961) starring Rock Hudson, Gina Lollobrigida, Sandra Dee and Bobby Darin. Available on blu-ray from Kino Lorber!

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Thank you to Kino Lorber for sending me a copy to review!

Monday, December 18, 2017

Cop-Out (1967)

Former barrister John Sawyer (James Mason) drowns his sorrows in liquor. He lives with his daughter Angela (Geraldine Chaplin) in a decrepit old mansion. The two have a strained relationship brought on by two major factors: the abandonment of the family by the matriarch and their age gap. Angela spends her time avoiding her dad. She works for touchy-feely barrister Chelham (Michael Danvers-Walker) and spends her free time with her friends. Most of her pals are rich socialites, bored with life and seeking the thrill that only misbehaving can bring them. One particular member of the group stands out, Jo Christoforides (Paul Bertoya), the Greek immigrant, son of a laundry woman. Angela and Jo are secretly in love. But Jo's status as a poor foreigner makes him an easy scapegoat when a dead body turns up at the Sawyer mansion. Eccentric ship steward Barney Teale (Bobby Darin) has been found murdered in the room he'd been secretly staying in. Teale's association with Angela's group of friends seems to be his downfall. Who killed Teale? Can Sawyer come out of his alcoholic haze to save Jo from being wrongfully accused of murder and restore his relationship with his daughter?

"The young should be left alone. You don't like us very much do you? It's very well because we represent the future you're afraid of. Sometimes we hate you too because you're the past we never had." - John Sawyer (James Mason)

Cop-Out (1967) is a family drama that explores the generational divide and the youth culture of the 1960s through the lens of a murder mystery. It reminded me a little of Bonjour Tristesse (1958) in that it demonstrates how bored rich people can ruin lives; their own and that of others. Unfortunately, Cop-Out failed to reach it's potential. And it did have potential. I was quite interested in the clashing cultures of Mason's older generation and Chaplin's youthful generation that was coming of age in the late 1960s. That entire decade was a turbulent one and also drastically altered pretty much ever aspect of youth culture. There was also potential with the theme of sex. One of the characters is secretly gay, a stripper ends up being a key witness, and it's suggested that Angela's character sleeps around, although she is clearly committed to Jo. It's all there but not as fleshed out as it could be. Then there is the literary theme that I suspect is stronger in the source material than it is in the movie. Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is used in solving the case and there is even a short reading by James Mason.

The story is based on the novel The Strangers in the House by Georges Simenon. I quite enjoyed watching Panique (1946) at this year's TCM Classic Film Festival. That movie is also based on a Simenon novel and I got to hear his youngest son Pierre Simenon discuss his father's life and career which included many many film adaptations. Before Cop-Out, the novel was filmed in France as Les inconnus dans la maison (1942) in France. Selmur Productions, an arm of ABC Films, shot The Stranger in the House, minus the pluralization in the novel's original name, on location in Southampton and Winchester, England. It was released in the UK in 1967 and then released as Cop-Out in the US.

Cop-Out was directed by Pierre Rouve who also adapted the screenplay. Rouve had a very short career in movies. Cop-Out was the only movie he directed. He wrote a total of four movies, was an assistant director on one, and produced six others including the ground-breaking Blow-Up (1966). He went on to enjoy a career as a broadcaster and art critic.

Unfortunately, Cop-Out was a flop in the UK and US. Originally George C. Scott was supposed to play the deranged ship steward Barney Teale but was eventually replaced by Bobby Darin. Personally I think Darin was an under-rated actor who could deliver some fine performances in both drama and comedy. He's a favorite of mine but his performance in this film thoroughly confused me. He does his best James Cagney impression in both voice and mannerisms. I couldn't help but wonder if he was trying to be a George C. Scott type or if he was channeling Cody Jarrett from White Heat (1949).

Actor Ian Ogilvy, who plays Sawyer's troubled nephew Desmond Flower, wrote briefly about working on the movie in his memoir Once a Saint. He recalls one outing with actor James Mason:
"It was a cold day and windy too and there was nobody about. We got to the end of the pier and looked out over the heaving grey sea. 'Well, that's not very interesting, is it?' said Mason. 'Don't know why we bothered.' The same could have been said about the film we were making." 

Cop-Out wasn't a complete loss for me. I was interested in the core of the story enough that I am looking to obtain a copy of Georges Simenon's novel, which is available from the New York Review Books, to see if there is more to the story that this movie might have missed.

Cop-Out is available on Blu-Ray and DVD from Kino Lorber. Thank you to Kino for sending me a copy for review!

Friday, February 6, 2009

I Heart Bobby Darin ~ Captain Newman, MD (1963) and the Academy Award Nomination

It's that time of year. The 81st Academy Awards are in a few short weeks and everyone is a buzz with Oscar fever. To honor the Oscars I wanted to talk about something very few people know about. Bobby Darin's Academy Award nomination. Yes, Bobby Darin, singer of classics such as Splish, Splash, Mack the Knife and Artificial Flowers, was nominated for his role in Captain Newman, MD (1963). This was the line-up:

1964 ~ Best Actor in a Supporting Role
  • Bobby Darin in Captain Newman, MD
  • Hugh Griffith in Tom Jones
  • John Huston in The Cardinal
  • Melvyn Douglas in Hud
  • Nick Adams in Twilight of Honor

Bobby Darin would lose to Melvyn Douglas to that year, but I believe that being recognized by the Academy for his performance solidified him as a talented actor. Most people think of Bobby Darin as a singer or the other half of the Bobby Darin & Sandra Dee marriage. Some might even think of him as a TV personality who had a knack for entertaining. I think of him as an actor.

I was already impressed with his performances in Pressure Point (1962), State Fair (1962) and Come September (1961) . I watch If a Man Answers (1962) several times a year! He could play a loveable cad or a Nazi sympathizer. He could be funny and charming or he could be angry and disturbed. So I was really happy when Captain Newman, MD (1963) came out on DVD. I got a chance to watch what was honored to be his best performance on screen.

Captain Newman, MD is a wonderful little film. It's not driven by one plot, rather several smaller plots that involve the various characters. Gregory Peck starts as Captain Newman, head of Ward 7, a psychiatric ward at an army hospital. Captain Newman is kind and genuinely cares for his patients, who are all WWII soldiers deeply disturbed by what they've seen and experienced on the battlefield. Newman gathers the best staff to take care of his patients including Corporal Laibowitz (Tony Curtis) and Lieutenant Corum (Angie Dickinson). We follow them as they deal with three of the worst cases. There is Colonel Bliss (Eddie Albert) whose seen all his men die and becomes withdrawn and violent, Captian Paul Cabot Winston (Robert Duvall!) who feels shame for his cowardice as a POW, and Corporal Jim Tompkins (Bobby Darin) who survives a harrowing plane crash only to see his best buddy die.

The scene that got Bobby Darin his nomination was done in one take (according to David Evanier's book Roman Candle). Captain Newman gives Tompkins flak juice (sodium pentothal) which puts Tompkins in a subconscious state where he reveals the details of his last mission. Darin throws his whole body into the scene. He's lying there, eyes closed, his body writhing as he goes from happy moments to harrowing ones. It's amazing and heart-wrenching to watch (although my pictures look a little silly).

I highly admire Bobby Darin. He did so much with his short life. Knowing he didn't have long to live, he lived life to the absolute fullest and wasted no time pursuing his dreams!

I recommend that you watch Captain Newman, MD (1963). Below is the trailer of the movie from the TCM Media room. It gives you a little taste of the mixture of drama and comedy that make up this film.

And remember, that Turner Classic Movies is in the midst of their 31 Days of Oscars Festival. More on that to come! In the meantime, visit the TCM University for more details (click on the banner below).

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

20 Actors Movie Meme

It was inevitable after the 20 Actresses Movie Meme circulated among the blog world that an Actor one would follow suit. And I was ready! The men were much easier to select from than the women. While it's terribly easy for me to dislike an actress (she looked at me funny), I have high respect for many actors. This list was easy to order as well, since I have formed very strong attachments to certain actors and I could guage what number to put them at based on the strength of my feelings. I also use the giggle-mometer. Whenever I see any of these fine gentlemen onscreen, I let out a giggle. The higher-pitched and more annoying the giggle, the more I like him. I guess you don't want to be around me when I see my King Robert Mitchum on screen do you?

Robert Mitchum

Bobby Darin

Rock Hudson

(Kevin - This image is dedicated to you!)

Clark Gable

Kirk Douglas

Jimmy Stewart

Cary Grant

Richard Barthelmess

Lewis Stone

Buster Keaton
Laurel & Hardy

(Thank you Frank for this wonderful image!)

The Marx Bros.

William Powell
(image from Google-LIFE Archive)

Robert Montgomery

Sidney Poitier

George Sanders

Louis Calhern

Charles Laughton

Sterling Hayden

~Honorable Mention: 5 more to round it out to top 25~

Jack Lemmon

Dennis Morgan

Spencer Tracy

Chester Morris

Ramon Novarro

Now it's my turn to tag some folks, seeing as I tagged myself for this one. And the unlucky SOBs are....

Ibetolis @ Film for the Soul

Ginger @ Asleep in New York

Jonas @ All Talking! All Singing! All Dancing!

Casey @ Noir Girl

Joanne @ Zippin' Along

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

You were looking for what?!

A friend of mine who has a personal blog (going for almost 10 years!) used to periodically make a list of the funny keywords people used on internet search engines that led them to her blog. I always enjoyed them and wanted to do something similar for my blog. I had never really paid attention to keyword paths until recently when I waded through some on my stat site. While some were pretty basic, others were downright hilarious! I've listed some of the most amusing or interesting ones below with my reactions. I'm using dashes instead of spaces for some of these so that people don't use the same keyword paths again to find my site.

Seductive-classic-movie-moments - Yes please. I'll take two.

Pressure-Point-lipstick-tic-tac-toe - I haz it!

Famous-Film-Noir-cloche-hat-scene - Whatever this person is looking for, I bet the right words are at the tip of the tongue.

People-that-got-rich-thanks-to-the-great-depression - Those bastards!

A-Face-in-the-Crowd-Vitajex-scene - I haz it!

Classic film calendars - get this one -> Universe's Movie Posters Calendar 2009

Double-Indemnity-matches - huh?

Fred-MacMurray-matches-Double Indemnity - OK I get it. I posted about how I thought Fred MacMurray's ability to light a match with his thumb was oddly sexy. Read it here.

1930's-gay-movie - Well, Let Us Be Gay is definitely 1930 and Norma Shearer was definitely gay. In the jovial sense.

What-necklace-did-norma-shearer-wear-in-The-Women? - I need to join forces with this person to find the long lost booty of Norma. Arr. We search for buried treasure.

Kirk-Douglas-naked -I haz it!

Kirk-Douglas-in-bed-with-cigar - I haz it!

Why do I enjoy watching classic film? - Good question my friend. I ask myself that question every day and I love coming up with answers.

Classic-nun-sex-movies - OK that's just wrong!

Leslie-Nielsen-children's-narrator - He's got a wonderful voice for a narrator. I loved his storytelling in the long lost Canadian TV show Katie & Orbie. This search probably led them to my Young Leslie Nielsen post.

Coolattas3 - I think Kevin has a stalker.

Garbo-at-party-at-Otto-Preminger - Did she actually come out of hiding and attend a Preminger party? I need my resident Preminger and Garbo experts to come answer this one. Kevin and Jonas, where are you?

Robert Mitchum in a trenchcoat - Nice one. Here you go!

I encourage other film bloggers to post any funny or interesting keyword paths that have lead internet roamers to your site. Consider yourselves tagged!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Lifetime Achievement Viewing

Some time ago I had made set goals to watch every single film which feature my top favorite personalities. I say personalities because these are people I am captivated by and it extends beyond any acting abilities or their appearance in good stories (sometimes they lack both!). Hunting for those films reach makes watching their work even more enjoyable.

Norma Shearer ~ 17 out of 61
Bobby Darin ~ 5 out of 14
Sandra Dee ~ 10 out of 24
Marilyn Monroe ~ 25 out of 29
Blonde Bette Davis ~ 14 out of 33
Doris Day ~ 17 out of 39

Lately I've come across a few more opportunities to advance towards my final goal. Sandra Dee's Tammy Tell Me True (1961) and Tammy and the Doctor (1963) were released on DVD a few months ago and Netflix just added it to their extensive library. I immediately added it to my queue, bypassing the original film Tammy and the Bachelor (1957) with Debbie Reynolds, which I guess I really should have seen first to fully understand the storyline. But while Debbie Reynolds is cute, I've always found Sandra Dee even cuter and much more fun to watch on screen!

With The Forbidden Hollywood Collection Vol. 2 I got an opportunity to see The Divorcee (1930) and A Free Soul (1931) in their entirety. Two marks on my list. But these I knew would eventually turn up on DVD. However, two more even rarer opportunities presented themselves recently. My friend Frank is a Laurel & Hardy fan and let me borrow one of his DVDs which contains the short film Stolen Jools (1931) a comedy which features many MGM stars, including Norma Shearer. And TCM recently had a Robert Montgomery marathon (one of Norma's best-known leading men), and they showed Their Own Desire (1929), (which I taped) an elusive film I know very little about but am very happy to see.

There are other actors whose film work I'd like to view in their entirety, but making a goal of it would be quite a feat, and very likely impossible (Robert Mitchum, Kirk Douglas, etc). Those whom I think may be manageable and whom I would like to add include:

Kim Novak
George Sanders
Tom Conway
Dennis Morgan
Bonita Granville
Susan Peters
Richard Barthelmess

Do you have anyone whose life's work is your goal to consume? Or have you already seen the entire canon of films of a favorite star? Let me know!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Recommendations Needed!

I know this is not movie-related but it is somewhat relevant to the "out of the past" theme of this blog!

I am looking for recommendations on music CDs. I just got an gift card and I'd like to invest in some 40s/50s/60s jazz music, some 20s/30s dance music and some 50s/60s pop music. I'd like to build my library a bit with artists or collections that I don't already have.

I've got what I need of Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Stan Getz, Louis Armstrong and Billie Holiday. Any other big names that you recommend? It would be nice to get a themed or "Best of" collection on one CD. I really love the "For Lovers" series.

For 20s/30s dance, I have the Original Dance Music of 1920's & 1930's which I absolutely love, but am scared of trying another compilation. Anyone out there have one similar to this that they adore and would suggest to me?

For 50's/60's pop, all I got is Bobby Darin. Now I love me my Bobby Darin. In fact, I love him so much that when I bought my copy of Bobby Darin: The Hits Single Collection at Barnes & Noble 2+ years ago it went from the store to my car and hasn't left the car since. Literally! I listen to it on long drives, short drives, even medium-length drives. I love to sing along really loudly in the privacy of my Toyota Corolla. But I digress. I'd really like to try something else fun from this time period. Probably a collection, but a single artist would be fine too.

Please! Help! Comment or e-mail! Thank you in advance!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Hidden Gem: State Fair (1962)

Our state fair, is the best state fair in our state.

I have always been fascinated by the way people watch films, especially how they chose the films they see. A person's past repertoire of films seen says a lot about who they are and what motivates them. I like to think that the body of films I've seen shows that I'm adventurous, curious, open-minded, passionate and emotionally-driven. It also demonstrates how I tend to form attachments, especially to particular persons.

State Fair (1962) is one of many remakes of the classic Rodgers and Hammerstein musical. The film is difficult to find. It is not often shown on TV and it's not available on it's own DVD. Rather, it lives in the bonus materials of it's more popular sibling, the 1945 version. You wouldn't think to look for it there, if you were searching for it. And why would you be searching for it anyways?

I found it because I was actively searching for it as one of the many Bobby Darin films I wanted to see (because I Heart Bobby Darin!). I watched it first, before seeing the 1945 version, and was pleasantly surprised. I'm not usually one for musicals but there was something light and refreshingly bouyant about this film. My favorite part was the feeling I had of having unearthed a hidden gem...

... and then came the domino-effect. Watching this film became a catalyst for watching many more. I loved the music in this film, so I watched the 1945 version to get another dose of it. Then I found that I really enjoyed Dana Andrews in that film, and maybe I should watch another one of his. Oh, and look at that. Alice Faye made her film comeback with State Fair (1962) , her last film after Fallen Angel (1945), which also stars Dana Andrews, so I saw that. Then there was Pamela Tiffin, who I found pleasantly annoying as Bobby Darin's love interest. Then I stumble upon her film Come Fly with Me (1963), a nice '60s romantic comedy, which introduced me to Dolores Hart, who was in another film Where the Boys Are (1960), which of course I had to see. Also, State Fair (1962) was my first introduction to Ann-Margret, and I just had to see another of her films, so I saw Made in Paris (1966). This made me realize, that the '60s weren't so bad and that actually I really love '60s romantic/sex comedies and wanted to watch more of those films and so on and so forth. I could go on (because it did go on from there) but I think you get the drift.

This is very representative of my viewing pattern. I watch one film, I enjoy it, I can't get enough, so I watch a lot more semi-related films. It's a wonder I find time to do anything else. I do however, highly recommend watching this film, if you haven't already. Ignore moral of the story, which is out-dated and quite boring, and enjoy it as a fun and light musical. And who knows, maybe you'll go on a fun-filled film journey afterwards like I did.

Monday, June 18, 2007

I Heart Bobby Darin: Pressure Point

I must share my love for Bobby Darin with you... with the world. When most people hear his name, they automatically think "Splish, Splash", "Dream Lover" and Sandra Dee. My mind's image of him is far more complex. To me he was an amazing actor, singer and comedian. Did you know that he was nominated for four Golden Globes (winning one) and an Academy Award and that he could do a really great impersonation of Robert Mitchum? No, of course you didn't. I truly believe that Bobby Darin is highly under-rated as an actor in his own right. The man was multi-talented, highly ambitious and hard-working. I always have the utmost respect for people like that.

I came to watch Pressure Point (1962) to see Bobby Darin in a dramatic role. I was ready to see a rough, mean and pyscopathic Darin. There are a couple of noteworthy scenes in this movie. The first one taking place in jail when Darin's American-Nazi character, while alone in his cell, sees a minature version of himself desperately trying to climb out of the sink's drain. The mini-Darin is not thwarted by the larger-Darin's attempt to flush him away. It's quite a powerful scene, representative of the character's descent into his madness.

The second scene is comprised of a sick and twisted game of tic-tac-toe. Darin's character is drunk and violent and with the help of other drunks, proceeds to cover the walls, ceiling, floor and furniture of a bar with tic-tac-toe grids. It ends with a final round done with lipstick on the barman's wife's face and back.
Darin truly steals the show. Poitier gets top billing and is the central character and narrator, but one cannot be but captivated by Darin. Wonderful stark visuals and harsh clangy music, and this film will by far deconstruct any preconceived notions you have of Bobby Darin.

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