As we’ve written many times before, we welcome reader emails — good, bad or indifferent. The latest missives are actually pretty good.
Hello, everybody. Joe Morella and Frank Segers, your classic movie guys, here to give our ever alert (and opinionated) readers the day’s spotlight.
First up is regular reader Mike Sheridan, who offers this about the continuing who-ha relating to the drowning of Natalie Wood 31 years ago (the subject of our Jan. 18-21 Quiz):
Hey fellas, I wonder if the “Cap’n” is in need of some money… He’s the only one who ever hypes it, and continues to do so. I think it’s fishy.
Ok, some translation here may be necessary. As you probably know by now, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reopened in 2011 its investigation into the actress’ drowning in waters off Santa Catalina Island (about 20 miles off the California coast) on Nov. 29, 1981. The death was ruled at the time as an accident.
Wood, actor Christopher Walken (her costar in Brainstorm, the movie she was making that was released in 1983) and the actress’s husband Robert Wagner (maritally, the second time around for both) were the only passengers aboard the their yacht — besides the captain. They were taking a Thanksgiving holiday cruise.
Official reconsideration of the circumstances surrounding Wood’s death came after Dennis Davern, the captain of the yacht Splendour, co-authored a book — and told a TV network — that he had lied to authorities about what actually had happened aboard the vessel on the night Wood disappeared. He urged that the incident be re-examined.
Reader Mike speculates about whether “the captain” is driving re-examination of the Wood case perhaps for monetary reasons. Good point, Mike. We’ll keep sharp eyes on any new developments in the Wood case, and keep you posted.
Here’s Mike again responding to our Jan. 17 posting, Gary Cooper & ‘Day of the Locust,’ celebrating the lengthy career of this great star:
One of my favorite Cooper movies was the affair with Simone Simon (WOW) called “Seventh Heaven” set in the clouds and under the streets in old Paris. I don’t think this remake was a hit at the time, but I thought it was really, really good.
We take a back seat to no one in our admiration for the winsome French actress Simone Simon, who was born in 1911, and died seven years ago in Paris at 94. She was not only a superb actress but was a distinctively attractive one.
Simon started making films in France in 1931, and embarked to Hollywood five years later. Of her French films, don’t miss 1938’s Le Bete Humaine directed by Jean Renoir, in which Simon plays a saucy mate to actor Jean Gabin. She is best remembered for her starring roles in RKO producer Val Lewton’s first horror film, the 1942 classic Cat People, directed by the underrated Jacques Tourneur, and in Robert Wise’s 1944 “sequel,” The Curse of the Cat People.
Twentieth Century Fox’ Seventh Heaven came out in 1937, with Simon playing the romantic interest of a socially ambitious Parisian sewer worker. But, Mike, the male lead in the picture was not Cooper but James Stewart. But no question — Coop and Simone would have made a dynamite paring.