Time to dip into our trusty e-mail bag, and unearth recent pearls of wisdom (we mean that sincerely) from our ever-knowledgeable readers. There are few thing we like better than hearing back from readers about what we publish.
Here’s what regular contributor Jeff Woodman wrote in response to our July 18th blog about Robert Taylor, the handsome MGM star. A point made in our piece was that Taylor’s good looks (there he is above) sometimes got in the way of his underrated acting skills. Here’s Jeff:
In my book, Taylor should have the all time “Most Improved” (a category I just invented) Academy Award. Some of his later work (including HIGH WALL, as you mentioned) was quite good, which I find fairly miraculous, as his debut performance has always rendered CAMILE completely unwatchable for me.
He certainly came a long way. (Though, as I tell friends when I express my disdain for Burt Lancaster and they shout, “But he was wonderful in LOCAL HERO and ATLANTIC CITY!” — “Let anybody who can’t act make 79 movies, and by the 80th they’ll probably be pretty good at it.”)
We rarely write about movie producers but made an exception with Samuel Bronston, the maverick impresario — as daring as he was devilish — who constructed one of the world’s largest studio complexes outside Madrid in the Fifties. He is best remembered for the Charlton Heston-Sophia Loren costume epic, El Cid. Here’s what Graham Hill, another regular contributor, wrote in response to our Bronston blog of July 7:
Like you guys I wish more people would comment on the great work you do… I felt compelled to be the sole one to leave a comment in this case with Samuel Bronston.
Among my extensive collection of HOLLYWOOD books is “THE MAGNIFICENT SHOWMAN -The Epic films of Samuel Bronston” by Mel Martin. Like your article here it’s very revealing. Bronston like Sam Spiegel had very questionable sources for financing, as indeed what is now standard practice with creative bookkeeping being the norm in the movie/TV business.
The fact that Bronston was allied in Spain with the Franco government to get his films made doesn’t paint a pretty picture.
EL CID was certainly his best work, I saw it as a kid in one of the showplace theaters in the West End of London, and again 40 years later at the Cinerama Dome in HOLLYWOOD when it was restored and remastered.
Samuel Bronston never made for himself the kind of money that a Jerry Bruckheimer or a Steven Spielberg does today… fact is, he ended up with nothing besides getting his name up on the screen in big letters. Still, he had a lot more courage, and even more guts than the so-called, just in-it-for-the-money “producers” we have now!
In response to our Warren Beatty Catches A Break blog of July 6, in which we noted that his recent Rules Don”t Apply movie — a commercial disaster — is surprisingly good, Brittany B. wrote:
‘Rules Don’t Apply’ is on my to be watched list. I loved (female lead) Lily Collins in Amazon’s ‘The Last Tycoon,’ and like that ‘Rules’ has a similar feel. I’m glad to hear you recommend it.
On July 28, we published a blog about Eddie Constantine, the American-born actor-singer who made a big splash in France starring in faux film noirs as agent Lemmy Caution. Kathy Cestorina in response wrote:
I bought a bunch of his Lemmy Caution flicks and others from Sinister Cinema. Eddie has a great presence and he’s fun to watch. Hunt down Room 43 if you can find it; it’s not a Lemmy Caution film but it also features great turns by Herbert Lom and Diana Dors.
Thanks to all contributors — and keep those cards and letters coming.