An Italian trip: Part 2

“One doesn’t come to Italy for niceness, one comes for life!”
― E.M. Forster, A Room with a View

We continue our trip around ‘The Boot”. We now head to Rome, where you never know who you are going to meet. Maybe someone dancing in a fountain or willing to show you Rome on a Vespa. Avanti!

If you joined us late on the tour check out: An Italian trip: Part 1

Stop 6: Rome

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Roman Holiday (1953)

In 2003, my husband and I were luck enough to visit Rome. I knew one of the essential things I had to do was visit “La Bocca della Verita” (The Mouth of Truth). Because one of the many scenes I love from Roman Holiday. It is poignant scene as both characters are lying to each other and the Mouth of Truth is a symbolic storytelling device.

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Produced and directed by William Wyler, this film successfully launched Audrey Hepburn to audiences in her first starring role. After filming, Gregory Peck informed the producers that, as Audrey Hepburn was certainly going to win an Oscar (for this, her first major role), they had better put her name above the title.

Joe Bradley (Gregory Peck) is a reporter for the American News Service in Rome. On the verge of getting fired when he, sleeping in and getting caught in a lie by his boss Hennessy, misses an interview with HRH Princess Ann, who is on a goodwill tour of Europe, Rome only her latest stop. However, he thinks he may have stumbled upon a huge scoop. Princess Ann has officially called off all her Rome engagements due to illness. In reality, he recognizes the photograph of her as being the young well but simply dressed drunk woman he rescued off the street last night  and who is still in his small studio apartment sleeping off her hangover.

Awards:

10 wins and 15 nominations

1954 Academy Awards:
Best Actress – Audrey Hepburn
Best Costume Design, Black-and-White – Edith Head
Best Writing, Motion Picture Story – Dalton Trumbo

Note: Dalton Trumbo, was blacklisted as one of the legendary Hollywood Ten, and therefore could not receive credit for the screenplay, even when it won the Academy Award for Best Motion Picture Story. Instead, his friend, Ian McLellan Hunter, one of the writers of the final screenplay, took credit for the original story and accepted the Oscar.

1954 Golden Globes: Best Actress – Audrey Hepburn

Stop 7: Another day in Rome

La Dolce Vita (1960)

Fellini’s La Dolce Vita is like an Italian, Italian, Italian experience of Rome. Its a passionate film noir exploration of Roma and life.

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Journalist Marcello Rubini (Marcello Mastroianni) writes for a gossip magazine. He chronicles seven days and nights on his journey through the “sweet life” of Rome in a fruitless search for love and happiness.

Awards:

11 wins and 12 nominations including the following wins:

1962 Academy Awards
: Best Costume Design, Black-and-White: Piero Gherardi

1960 Cannes Film Festival: Palme d’Or (Golden Palm) – Frederico Fellini

Stop: Florence

“It was pleasant to wake up in Florence, to open the eyes upon a bright bare room, with a floor of red tiles which look clean though they are not; with a painted ceiling whereon pink griffins and blue amorini sport in a forest of yellow violins and bassoons. It was pleasant, too, to fling wide the windows, pinching the fingers in unfamiliar fastenings, to lean out into sunshine with beautiful hills and trees and marble churches opposite, and, close below, Arno, gurgling against the embankment of the road.”
― E. M. Forster, A Room with a View

 

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A Room with a View (1985)

Florence provides a magnificent backdrop to James Ivory’s film adaption of E.M.Forster’s novel A Room with a View. Ruth Prawer Jhabvala crafted the script, doing it the justice it deserved. Helen Bonham Carter and Julian Sands soar as lovers. Longtime friends Maggie Smith and Judi Dench display their mastership. This film also launched Daniel Day-Lewis as a new talent due to the fact that My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) of which he played a very different role excited filmgoers and critics to his talent. I love Denholm Elliott, such a passionate father. Not only do you get a sense of the time period, but the realities of life in Florence. This film is truly an exploration of Italian life from the view of the British tourists and their own individual responses to the city.

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Lucy Honeychurch (Helen Bonham Carter) and her cousin and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett (Maggie Smith), arrive in Florence. They are troubled by the fact that they don’t have rooms with a view. Later that night at supper, fellow guests Mr. Emerson (Denholm Elliott)  and his son George (Julian Sands) offer to exchange their rooms for those of Lucy and Charlotte. This exchange is the first of many events where Lucy and Charlotte are involved in the plans of Mr. Emerson, George and other guests from the hotel they are staying at. Lucy and George realize their passionate feelings for one another when George kisses Lucy, and it is not a simple matter of boy likes girl, but boy likes girl and girl is engaged to another. Now Lucy begins to doubt her feelings for her husband to be and gets caught up in a web of lies to convince herself, George and everyone else that she isn’t in love with George. How will it all turn out in the end?

“Eleanor Lavish: Smell! A true Florentine smell. Inhale, my dear. Deeper! Every city, let me tell you, has its own smell.”

Awards:

1987 Academy Awards 
Best Writing, Screenplay:  Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Best Art Direction-Set Decoration: Gianni Quaranta, Brian Ackland-Snow, Brian Savegar, Elio Altamura
Best Costume Design; Jenny Beavan, John Bright

1987 Golden Globes
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture
Maggie Smith

1987 BAFTA Awards
Best Actress: Maggie Smith
Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Judi Dench
Best Costume Design: Jenny Beavan, John Bright
Best Film: Ismail Merchant, James Ivory
Best Production Design: Gianni Quaranta, Brian Ackland-Snow

At the time of writing A Room With A View is available on Netflix.

Tea with Mussolini (1999)

Set in pre-WWI Italy, this semi-autobiographical tale from the early life of director Franco Zeffirelli looks at the illegitimate son of an Italian businessman. The boy’s mother has died, and he is raised by an Englishwoman. Living together each other in Florence, and presided over by an ambassador’s widow, a group of Englishwomen live a sheltered existence which they believe is guaranteed personal protection in a tea reception given by Il Duce. However, as war breaks out, the women are interned. Occasionally in this English colony is a wealthy American, who visits among her travels and marriages to wealthy older men. She respects the “Scorpioni”, as they are known, and secretly arranges for their stay in a hotel. The ambassador’s widow finds her vulgar and tries to ignore her, but when the United States enters the war, the American too is taken into custody. Only then does she discover that her Italian lover has tricked her into signing over all her money and modern art collection to him, and is now arranging her execution. This obliges all to join forces. Lily Tomlin also appears as an American archaeologist working at a dig in the city.

Stop 10: Venice

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Summertime (1955)

Middle-aged American secretary Jane Hudson (Katharine Hepburn) travels from Ohio to Venice on her dream trip. On arrival, she immediately befriends the owner of the boarding house Signora Fiorini (Isa Miranda). At a café, an Italian helps her to call the waiter. The next day, she sees a red glass goblet in the window of an antique store and recognises the owner, Renato de Rossi (Rossano Brazzi) as the man who helped her the previous night. A romance develops between the two.

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Awards

2 wins and 5 nominations including winning:

* * *

There are countless other films set in Italy. I hope this exploratory trip around Italy via the cinema wet your ‘appetito’.

Please comment below if you think there any films set and filmed in Italy before 2000 that really must be on this list.

 

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Maria Montez: Part 2: A technicolor star is born

Maria was beginning to get a few roles now but she was yet to become a star. The future Technicolor Queen’s next film was based on a short story by Edgar Allan Poe. Maria was cast in the title role of The Mystery of Marie Rogêt (1942), playing alongside Patrick Knowles. The film didn’t too well at the time but was re-released in 1943 at The Phantom of Paris.

This was followed by Pardon My Sarong, an Abbott and Costello vehicle. Unfortunately, her scenes were deleted from the film. But success was just around the corner. Her success was proceeded by love. When she met French actor Jean-Pierre Aumont.

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The couple married at her Beverly Hills house on 14th July 1943, with Charles Boyer as best man. Jean-Pierre left after a month to complete his military service for the French Free Services. While he was away she wrote her novel, ‘Forever Is A Long Time’.

Maria Montez (Movie Life 1944)

Maria found a new leading man, professionally speaking when she was cast in a leading role as Scherezade in Arabian Nights (1942). Universal was betting on her increasing popularity with their first three-strip technicolour film. The film also co-starred Sabu with whom she would also work with regularly. The film was a hit and established the trio as stars. It also was nominated for some Oscars for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Sound and Best Music Score.

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Following on the success of Arabian Nights, Universal cast her again with Hall and Sabu in White Captive (1943), also billed as White Savage.

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On the 23rd of October, 1943, Maria was awarded the Order of Juan Pablo Duarte and the Order of Trujillo for her efforts in promoting relations between the United States and the Dominican Republic. Flor Trujillo was the eldest daughter of the President of the Dominican Republic. Montez was the first woman to be presented with these awards. The event was held at the Ambassador Hotel. She served as a “Goodwill Ambassador of Latin America” by President Franklin Roosevelt.

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Montez is pictured holding flowers, shaking hands with Porfirio Herrera Baez, next to Flor Trujillo, secretary of the Dominican Republic’s Embassy in Washington, D. C.

Following this, Universal put together another Hall and Montez vehicle, Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1944). The screenplay was based on a tale from Thousand Nights, that originally included forty-two murders which included the murder of Ali, his cousin and all forty thieves. Universal made it into a more palatable version. One of the promotional posters for the film included “When beauty was the booty and the prize of all was love! Raiders! Slavers! Riches and Rogues…when beauty was the booty— and the prize of all was love!”

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Sabu was originally cast but was replace by Turhan Bey due to him being drafted to military service.

The film was a high earner for Universal Pictures. So they continued on with the Hall and Montez adventure fantasy formula with Cobra Woman (1944). Maria had a double role as evil queen Nadja and her good twin sister Tollea.

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Maria Montez as Nadja in Cobra Woman (1944)

Tollea (Maria Montez) is abducted and taken to Cobra Island, where the Queen is her grandmother. Ramu (Jon Hall) sets sail to save her, unknowingly accompanied by Kado (Sabu). his young friend Kado accompanying him as a stowaway.

A panther attacks Ramu, who is saved by a dart from Kado’s deadly blowgun. They continue the search for Tollea, unaware that the high priestess of the island is Naja, her twin sister. The queen has ordered Tollea to be forcibly returned to Cobra Island only so she can displace her evil sister.

“Montez is one of the few actresses whose behaviour is influenced by her work as an actress, if she is a queen, she will demand you to bow before her, even on the breaks, but if she is a slave, you could treat her very bad and she will not complain.” Robert Siodmak, Director of Cobra Woman

 

The last picture in which Maria and Jon Hall stay happily ever after together was Gypsy Wildcat (1944). While her adopted family are performing at a gipsy fair Carla (Maria Montez) is resting in the woods. She witnesses both the murder of Count Orso and Michael (Jon Hall) ride away from the scene of the crime. Carla returns to the fair and dances. Michael watches her performance. Baron Tovar and his troops soon interrupt the performance, accusing the gipsies of having murdered Count Orso. Michael and Carla help each other to save the gipsies.

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Celebrities invited to the White House by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to assist in the President’s Birthday Ball fundraisers to fight infantile paralysis.
Standing (left to right): Joan Fontaine, Martha Scott, Mary Martin, Virginia Field, Mary Pickford, Eleanor Roosevelt, Lucille Ball, Maria Montez, Jinx Falkenburg, Jeanne Cagney, Lily Pons, Patricia Collinge.
Seated (left to right): Guy Lombardo, Brian Aherne, Grantland Rice, Roland Young, Red Skelton, John Garfield, Meyer Davis, Walter Pidgeon, Brian Donlevy.
Date Taken on 28 January 1944
Source Life magazine, February 14, 1944 (page 34)
Author Time Inc.; photograph by Thomas D. McAvoy

In a change of pace, Maria was cast in a comedy Bowery to Broadway (1944). Two Bowery vaudevillians find success in producing shows on Broadway, but when one of them suddenly departs to work for a beautiful woman, a feud erupts.

In 1945, Montez played Naila, queen of the ancient Egyptian kingdom of Khemis in Sudan. when her father is killed in a slave revolt. Continuing her penchant for going incognito among the people, she seeks out rebel leader Herua (Turhan Bey). But through palace treachery, she herself is captured and enslaved. After various adventures, she finds herself rescued by (and attracted to) the very rebel she was seeking.

“Sudan is making more money than the others and Universal thinks on that account I should appear in more of these films,” she said. “But I want to quit these films when they are at a peak, not on the downbeat. It isn’t only that the pictures are all the same, but the stories are one just like the other.”1

Jean-Pierre Aumont returned and the couple were reunited. It wasn’t long before they were expecting their first child. Maria had been fighting with Universal to do some more challenging roles other than the Technicolor oriental adventures she had been doing. In fact, she was suspended for a while after refusing a couple of films. Universal finally gave way and cast her in Tangier (1946), a B & W thriller, directed by George Waggner.

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The storyline goes that disgraced American war correspondent Paul Kenyon, cafe dancer Rita, and local entrepreneur Pepe, team up to battle Adolpho Fernandez, a Nazi diamond smuggler. Filming started on 24 September 1945. Turhan Bey and Jon Hall had gone into the army so their roles were played by Sabu and Robert Paige respectively. It was Sabu’s first movie on his return from the services. Montez was pregnant during filming. Maria Christina (also known as Tina Aumont) was born on 14 February 1946.

Next week conclude Maria’s story. Maria Montez: Part 3: Freedom and France

******

Source: 1. Schallert, Edwin (9 June 1945). “Daughter of Director Begins Cinema Career”. Los Angeles Times. p. A5.

Hope and Goddard: Double-feature

I am spending my Halloween (when kiddies have gone to bed tired with sugar overload) having a laugh and being a little spooked at the same time. In case you want to join me on the virtual coach, here is the double feature.

Bob Hope and Paulette Goddard trade witty one-liners in these two slightly spooky horror mysteries. I still laugh at a few scenes from The Ghost Breakers every now and again. You don’t always think of Hope or Goddard when you think of horror movies. They made three comedies together during the WWII period, two below both had a horror mystery theme. Both films are written by screenplay writer Walter DeLeon, produced by Arthur Hornblow Jr. and Cinematography by Charles Lang.

As a result, both films have a similar style and no doubt probably shared some set designs.

The Cat and the Canary (1939)

This film is a remake of a remake and then remade once again. Confused? Let me explain. The original play showed on Broadway in 1922, written by John Willard. It was remade into a film in 1927, directed by German director Paul Leni and Laura LaPlante.

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On the tenth anniversary of the death of eccentric millionaire Cyrus Norman, the executor of his will Mr Crosby (George Zucco) gathers six of his surviving family members for a reading of the will at midnight. It takes place in an isolated mansion in an alligator-infested Louisana bayou. The only person living there is the housekeeper Miss Lu and her black cat.

Norman’s survivors: Joyce Norman (Paulette Goddard), Fred Blythe (John Beal), Charles Wilder (Douglass Montgomery), Cicily (Nydia Westman), Aunt Susan (Elizabeth Patterson), and Wally Campbell (Bob Hope) gather in the parlour to read the will. Not to spoil the plot let’s just say a horror cliche series of events occur to suitably give you a few creeps, laughs and more than likely work out “Whodunnit?” before they do.

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The Ghost Breakers (1940)

The Cat and the Canary were so successful, Paramount Pictures reused the same formula. The Ghostbreakers is also a remake of silent film Ghostbreakers (1922) with Wallace Reid and  Lila Lee. This film has been lost.

Ghostbreakers was also remade again into Scared Stiff (1953), a Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis hit. George Marshall directed both films. Bob Hope played a cameo part as a skeleton.

Mary Carter (Paulette Goddard) inherits her family’s ancestral home, located on a small island off Cuba called Black Island. Mary soldiers on despite warnings and death threats decides to take possession of the reputedly haunted castle. She is joined by radio broadcaster Larry Lawrence (Bob Hope) who, believing he has killed a mob gunman, flees New York with his butler, Alex (Willie Best). Once on the island, the threesome enter the eerie castle and after viewing the ghost of one of Mary’s ancestors and fighting off a menacing zombie, they find the key to the castle’s treasure but are interrupted by an all-too-human foe.

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Look out for Anthony Quinn, playing a double role. I think my favourite is Alex (Willie Best). Special mention for The Zombie played by Noble Johnson. It has to be said that this is a movie of its time. I think you will understand what I mean in that there are obviously I lot of racial stereotypes going on. So I say to you to watch it with the time period in mind.

If you enjoy these films and want to turn this into a triple feature Goddard and Hope also made another comedy Nothing But The Truth (1941).

Happy Halloween! Let me know which film you prefer and who was the creepiest?. My favourite is The Ghostbreakers.

Trailers:

The Cat and the Canary

The Ghostbreakers

An Italian trip: Part 1

Are you thinking about travelling to Italy but the budget’s a little tight? Let classic cinema take you there. Explore, celebrate and revel in the beauty and majesty of Italy with these delightful films.

Our tour begins with…

 

First stop: Ischia

Ischia is a volcanic island in the Gulf of Naples. It’s known for its mineral-rich thermal waters. And the perfect setting for Wilder’s romantic comedy Avanti!.

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Avanti! (1972)

One of the many great Wilder and Lemmon partnerships is one of my all-time favourite romantic comedies. Baltimore industrialist Wendell Armbruster (Jack Lemmon) crosses paths with London shop girl Pamela Piggott (Juliet Mills) when they go to Ischia to pick up the bodies of her mother and his father.

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Jack Lemmon and Juliet Mills returning from a very interesting first date.

 

Wendell’s father and Pamela’s mother die in an automobile accident. When Wendell discovers that Pamela’s mother and his father were having a ten-year affair he tries to avoid a scandal with help from hotel manager Carlo Carlucci (Clive Revill). Free-spirited Pamela falls in love with the island of Ischia, and some of the locals fall in love with her too. A relationship develops between the two while they are busy trying to deal with their parents’ bodies and attempted blackmail from locals. Laugh along with some of the dialogue featured below delivered perfectly by Lemmon, Mills, Revill and other supporting actors.

Carlo Carlucci: In Italy, the lunch hour is from one to four.

Wendell Armbruster: “Three hours” for lunch?

Carlo Carlucci: Mr. Armbruster. Here we do not rush to drugstore for chicken sandwich and a Coca-Cola. Here, we take our time. We cook our pasta, we sprinkle our Parmigiano, we drink our wine, we make our love…

Wendell Armbruster: What do you do in the evening?

Carlo Carlucci: In the evening, we go home to our wives.

Film locations: Hotel Excelsior Vittoria,  Amalfi Coast, Faro di Carena, Capri, Ischia Island.

Awards

1 win, 6 Nominations

1973 Golden Globes: Winner: Best Actor  – Jack Lemmon.

Second stop: Arezzo

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Life is Beautiful (1997)

Who can forget Robert Benigni’s beautiful, candid and joyful acceptance speech after winning Best Actor for his role in Life is Beautiful at the 1999 Academy Awards? He was the first actor to have won the award for a foreign film in 37 years (Sophia Loren won for Two Women in 1962). Plus, he was up against Tom Hanks, Ian McKellan, Nick Nolte and Edward Norton.

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The story of La Vita è Bella follows Guido (Roberto Benigni), a bumbling Jewish waiter whose colourful imagination and playful spirit help him to woo beautiful schoolteacher Dora ( Nicoletta Braschi). The couple marries and has a young son Giosué (Giorgio Cantarini), but before long their idyllic world is threatened by Nazi soldiers who force the family into a concentration camp. Guido must now use his imagination to light up his son’s life.

Film locations:
Arezzo, Ronciglione, Terni, Papino

Awards

70 wins and 51 nominations including:-

1999 Academy Awards: Best Actor, Best Foreign Film, Best Music Original Score; 1999 1999 BAFTA: Best Actor;
1998 Cannes: Grand Prize
1999 Screen Actors Guild: Best Actor

Third stop: Salina Island, Sicily

Salina is one of the Aeolian Islands north of Sicily, southern Italy. It is the second largest island in the archipelago.

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Il Postino: The Postman (1994)

In the year 1950, the famous Chilean Pablo Neruda (Philippe Noiret) and his wife are political exiles in a small Island off the coast of Naples. The island has no cars and  Mario Ruoppolo (Massimo Troisi)  dissatisfied with being a fisherman gets work as a temporary postman and his only customer is Neruda. Mario befriends Neruda and a friendship forms between the two. We are treated to the beautiful scenery of Salina (Sicily) bicycles his way to Neruda’s house. Though poorly educated, the postman eventually befriends Neruda and becomes influenced by Neruda’s political views and poetry. Mario enlists Neruda’s help with romancing local waitress Beatrice Russo (Maria Grazia Cucinotta).

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Awards

31 wins, 17 nominations

1996 Academy Awards: Winner: Best Music (Original Dramatic Score).

1996 BAFTA Awards: Winner: Anthony Asquith Award for Film Music –  Luis Bacalov
Winner: Best Film not in the English Language;
Winner: David Lean Award for Direction Michael Radford.

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Il Postino was Massimo Troisi’s last film, he died of a heart attack, literally 12 hours after filming. He was only 41.

Fourth stop: Lake Como

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Villa del Balbianello, Lake Como

A Month By The Lake (1995)

Based on the novel A Month by the Lake & Other Stories by H.E. Bates, Director John Irvine’s A month by the Lake is set in 1937 in the Villa del Balbianello in Lake Como. The perfect setting for this autumnal romantic comedy. For 16 years Miss Bentley (Vanessa Redgrave) has been visiting the villa in April with her father. This year, she is alone as her father has passed away. She strikes up a friendship with Major Wilshaw (Edward Fox) and there is a hint of romance there. The romance is thwarted by the flirtatious attention on the Major by American nanny Miss Beaumont (Uma Thurman).

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Vanessa Redgrave and Edward Fox

The beautiful stillness of Lake Como is a perfect setting for Redgrave’s introverted character to stand out and reflect the beauty of the lake.

Awards: Golden Globe nomination – Best performance by an actress – Vanessa Redgrave

Fifth stop: Sicily

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Cefalù, a coastal city in northern Sicily.

Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Based on Giuseppe Tornatore’s real-life experiences, this tale is a sentimental journey from Salvatore di Vita’s life as a filmmaker in Rome to his childhood growing up in the fiction Sicilian village of Giancaldo. The village is based on Bagheria, Giuseppe Tornatore’s birthplace.

After receiving news from his mother about the death of his old friend Alfredo, the cinema projectionist at Cinema Paradiso. The film is an extra treat for classic film lovers as the film is set around Post-World War Two and explores traditional film-making. We are treated to several locations around Palermo and Rome.

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Film locations: Various locations in Palermo and Rome.

Awards

24 wins and 31 nominations including:

1990 Academy Awards: Best Foreign Language Film

1990 Golden Globes: Best Foreign Language Film

1991 BAFTA: Winner: Best Actor – Philippe Noiret
Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Salvatore Cascio
Best Film not in the English Language – Franco Cristaldi, Giuseppe Tornatore
Best Original Film Score – Ennio Morricone, Andrea Morricone
Best Screenplay – Original – Giuseppe Tornatore

Next week we will visit Venice, Florence and Rome in “An Italian trip: Part Two”.

 

Maria Montez: Part 1: From paradise to Hollywood

In a little coastal town in the Dominican Republic, a young girl dreamed of being a star. She became the first Dominican-born Star of Hollywood, a popular pin-up girl but was most known as the Queen of Technicolor. I am currently in Santo Domingo and I find myself revisiting her films and wanting to know how she got into Hollywood. And what happened to her.

 

I have been visiting Santo Domingo since 2000, so I don’t recall which visit it was that I rediscovered this gorgeous Dominican beauty. I just remember the moment. One day my husband and I were strolling in Mirador Sur Park, a six-kilometre park located near my husband’s family house where we regularly stay. I was stunned to come across a mural dedicated to Maria Montez. I immediately recognised her. As a girl, I vividly remember watching Cobra Woman with my dad. Maria’ had a double starring role as good twin Tollea and evil twin Naja in Cobra Woman (1944).

 

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Mural located in Parque Mirador del Sur, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

This dive into the rabbit hole of Maria Montez’s life went deeper than originally intended as I had to sift through what was the myth and the reality. ‘The Queen of Technicolor’ is a moniker that fitted a woman and life that was every bit as colourful as the technicolour films she starred in. In fact, the studio press also labelled her as ‘The Caribbean Cyclone’ and ‘Tempestuous Montez’. Like most actresses, ‘Montez’ was a screen name. And like many stars, the publicity team at Universal created a glamorous background story for the American film-going public. A story was fabricated that she grew up in the Canary Islands and her father, a Spanish diplomat was sent to Ireland where she met her first husband William G. McFeeters, an Irish banker. From what I have gathered the truth is closer to this.

 

Her full Christian name was Maria Africa Antonia Gracia Vidal de Santo Silas. The shorter version was Maria Africa Garcia Vidal. She was born on the 6th June 1912, in Santa Cruz de Barahona, a paradisical coastal town in the south-west region of the Dominican Republic. She was the second daughter of Isidoro Garcia Gracia and Regla (Rule) Maria Teresa Vidal Recio. Maria was born after Isidoro, and followed by Aquilino, Joaquín, David, Ada, Consuelo, Luz, Luis, Jaime and Teresita. Her mother was from Bani (an hour’s drive east of Barahona).

She was named Maria Africa in honour of her father’s native land, La Palma (the Canary Islands situated on the West Coast of Africa). Her father Isidoro Garcia was an exporter of textiles and Lignum Vitae, a hardwood known as guayacanes.

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Isidoro Garcia Gracia, Maria Montez’s father

Isidoro also possessed the title of Honorary Vice Consul of Spain. Universal Studios put out the story that she had grown up in Tenerife, attending the Sacred Heart Convent in Santa Cruz. However, she spent the first part of her life in Barahona until the early 1930s.

 

As a child she was known as having a vivid imagination, often creating homemade stages and she reportedly learnt English from American magazines and films.
At 20, on the 28th November 1932, she married wealthy Irish banker, William G. McFeeters. He was working at the First National Bank of New York in Barahona. Supposedly he whisked her off to live with his family in a castle in Belfast. William was an officer in the army and was often away. During that time, supposedly Maria frequently visited London and Paris. In 1939, Maria informed him that she wished to dissolve the marriage. I am not sure of the truth for that but it sounds plausible enough for her to demand a divorce. More than likely she wanted to escape the village as she had a desire for stardom.

Following her divorce to McFeeters, she moved to New York on July 39′ and began modelling for magazine covers. She posed for McLelland Barclay, a well-known illustrator. (He created the first pin-up poster for Betty Grable).

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McLelland Barclay illustration with Maria as model

She was informed that RKO Executive George Schaeffer was dining for lunch at the famous Manhattan 21 Club or “21”. Maria arrived before Schaeffer in the company of her agent Louis Schuff, dressed to impress, acting in a coquettish manner. Her ploy worked and Schaeffer asked her to audition for a film.

However, her screen tests were viewed by Joe Pasternak, director of Universal Pictures. She accepted an offer from he to start at Universal for $150 per week.

“My audience expects to look like a star, and so I choose my clothes. However, before them I try to behave like an old and intimate friend.”

Maria Gracia chose the name of Maria Montez after the Irish dancer Lola Montez (stage name of Maria Dolores Eliza Gilbert) (1818-1861) whom Maria’s father often talked about. She also shaved eight to ten years off her life by claiming she was 20, not 28. Understandable considering she was competing with actresses of that age. She also hired fashion designer Vera West as well as two maids to create her own style.

 

And so her screen time begins…

When I see myself on the screen, I am so beautiful, I jump for joy!

Her first few movies were a series of bit parts including her first as Linda Calhoun in the Western, Boss of Bullion City (1940).  Followed by Marie in the comedy sci-fi The Invisible Woman (1940) and an uncredited role in Lucky Devils (1941).

Virginia Bruce, Kay Leslie, and Maria Montez in The Invisible Woman (1940)

Legend has it that Maria created her own fan club during this time called the “Montez For Stardom Club”. She soon got a break when Universal lent her to 20th Century for a role in That Night in Rio (1941) starring with Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda and Don Ameche dancing the Rhumba.

In 1941, Maria was cast as Zuleika in a Middle Eastern romp Raiders of the Desert, starring Richard Arlen and Andy Devine, the first role where she put on the veils.

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Andy Devine and Maria Montez in Raiders of the Desert

In Moonlight in Hawaii , the style department had the brilliant idea of dying her blonde. She had a small role as Ilani.

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Moonlight in Hawaii publicity shot

Montez further proved her ability for self-promotion. She made a public statement that she was the fiancée of Lieutenant Commandant Claude Strickland, missing in action. “I know he’s alive somewhere.” She said, with tears in her eyes.

To gain attention in the Universal Studio commissary, she would be accompanied by a huge entourage. She liked to make spectacular entrances at nightclubs and social functions.

Montez promotional efforts finally paid off in 1942. Once again Universal sent her off to the Pacific, casting her as Melahi in  South of Tahiti. Thus beginning her path as an actress typecast in roles as an exotic beauty in adventure films to rival the likes of Dorothy Lamour.

 

This was followed by a supporting role in spy film Bombay Clipper (1942).

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Continue with MARIA MONTEZ: PART 2: A TECHNICOLOR STAR IS BORN

 

“Proof”: 25 facts that prove it’s still a great film

It’s the 25th anniversary of great Australian film Proof. To celebrate here are twenty-five facts and reasons why you will want to watch this film.

Proof is about trust, and the story at its core is thought-provoking. I’m hoping that new audiences will be just as intrigued as audiences in the 1990s did, and embrace it in the same way. It’s a timeless story that could take place any place, any time. Jocelyn Moorhouse

1. Synopsis: Martin (Hugo Weaving) is a blind Australian man with trust issues stemming from childhood. Not believing people’s descriptions of the world around him, Martin takes photographs to have others describe what they see for comparison, after which he labels the pictures in Braille. The only other person in Martin’s life is Celia (Genevieve Picot), his housekeeper, who rearranges the furniture and secretly loves him, until he meets Andy (Russell Crowe), a dishwasher with a talent for description.

2. The film was released in Australia on 15th August, 1991.

3. Director and Screenplay written by Jocelyn Moorhouse. Think The Dressmaker and How to make an American Quilt. She works closely with her husband PJ Hogan and was producer on his films Muriel’s Wedding, Unconditional Love, Peter Pan and Mental.

4. Hugo Weaving is the star of the film. See Agent Smith from The Matrix Trilogy in the film that opened up his career in the cinema.

5. Russell Crowe, looking young and fresh faced. You just gotta love that twinkle in his eye.

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6. It swept the floor of the Australian Film Institute Awards in 1991 including:

Best Film
Best Director
Best Actor in Lead Role (Hugo Weaving)
Best Actor in Supporting Role (Russell Crowe)
Best Screenplay
Best Achievement in Editing

Plus Nominated for Best Achievement in Sound, and Best Actress in Lead Role (Geneviève Picot)

7. The screenplay is hilarious:“Doctor: You’ve been blind all your life.
Martin: I know.
Doctor: What were you doing driving a car?
Martin: I forgot.”8. It was Jocelyn Moorhouse’s first feature film.

‘Proof is like one of my own kids. My feelings for it have only grown fonder and I’m
very proud of it. It’s a wonderful three-hander between Hugo Weaving, Russell
Crowe and Genevieve Picot. They did really wonderful work in it, and I’m also very
proud of my crew.

9. What did the New York times think of Proof? Review/Film Festival; Acerbity and Escapism In ‘Proof,’ From Australia

10. The soundtrack was composed by Australian rock/ambient/world music band Not Drowning Waving.

11. It was filmed in Melbourne in 1991. You get to see pre-hipster Melbourne. 🙂

12. Jocelyn Moorhouse won the Bronze Award at the 1991 Tokyo International Film Festival.

13. Proof was originally a 50-minute short film. Moorhouse was told her script was too long to get financing as a short film. She was encouraged to expand it into a feature-length film. It took five years before the film went into production.

‘In 1986 someone told me that they had met a blind photographer. At the time I didn’t think to ask why a blind person would take photographs, but I soon found the unknown answer haunted me. I’m fascinated by blindness and how blind people cope with not having visual knowledge. Blind people have to place their faith in others. I just wanted to tell the story of a man who couldn’t.’

14. The film was selected for the Directors’ Fortnight at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival and won the Camera d’Or (Special Mention).

15. Proof grossed $2,163,958 at the box office in Australia

16. Another great script quote:

[Andy confronts Martin after leaving restaurant]
Andy: You may be blind, but you still have to pay for what you ate.
Martin: I ate nothing. My meal never arrived.

17. Geneviève Picot gives a strong female presence to the film as Martin’s bitter housekeeper Celia. She is secretly in love with him. The interplay between the two actors makes this film, along with the sardonic lines of her character.

genevieve picot
18. It also received the Critic’s Choice Award at the Sao Paulo International Film Festival.

19. During the making of Proof,. Moorhouse reprimanded Crowe for his behaviour during a love scene, in which a young actress complained she felt he was forceful to the point she was frightened.
20. Quote by Jocelyn Moorhouse: “I would always get a lot of work as a writer, but that wasn’t what I wanted to be. For me, I was only doing half of what I really wanted to do – write and direct.”

21. In 1992, it won the Britsh Film Institute award, the Sutherland Trophy.

22. Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe are both fans of Doctor Who.

23. How’s this for a job reference?

[Martin reads from the referral letter he has written for Celia]
Martin: “Celia was in my employment for three and a half years. She proved herself to be an efficient housekeeper and a lively and provocative conversationalist. I heartily recommend her services.”
Celia: You didn’t mention my breasts.
Martin: Celia has exceptional breasts. Would you like me to add that?

24. Read an interview with Hugo Weaving from 2009: The Cold Case: Hugo Weaving remembers his 1991 breakthrough Proof

25. This year (2016) a successful crowdfunding campaign was run to raise $25,000 to restore the film. The film premiered on the 29th July at the Melbourne International Film Festival.

Olivia De Havilland – 100 years: Early life

 

It’s hard to believe that Olivia De Havilland is 100 years today. Whether you have seen her in her role as ‘Melanie’ in Gone With The Wind or recent appearances. She never fails to emanate an elegance, a grace, a beauty not bound by age.

  1. Date of Birth: 1 July 1916
  2. Birth location: Tokyo, Japan
  3. Birth Name: Olivia Mary de Havilland. Her mother named her Olivia after William Shakespeare‘s romantic heroine in “Twelfth Night.”
  4. Nickname: Livvie, by her sister Joan.
  5. Physical attributes: Height: 5′ 4″ (1.63 m); Eye Color: Dark brown; Hair Color: Dark brown
  6. Religion: Raised and remained Episcopalian throughout her life.
  7. Parents: Lilian Augusta Fontaine (nee Ruse) and Walter Augustus de Havilland.
  8. Sister: actress and Hollywood star Joan Fontaine. Perhaps a taste of early sibling rivalry, when she was 9 years old, she made a will in which she stated, “I bequeath all my beauty to my younger sister Joan, since she has none”.
  9. Aunt of Debbie DozierEx-sister-in-law of writer/producer Collier Young, actor Brian Aherne and producer William Dozier

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    10 month old Olivia
  10. Paternal grandfather: Charles Richard de Havilland (the son of Charles Fiott de Havilland and Marthe/Martha Saumarez). Olivia’s great-grandfather Charles was born on Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, the son of Peter De Havilland and Carterette Fiott. Marthe was also born on Guernsey, in the Channel Islands, the daughter of Richard Saumarez and Marthe/Martha Le Mesurier.er surname comes from her paternal grandfather, whose family was from Guernsey in the Channel Islands.
  11. Paternal grandmother: Margaret Letitia Molesworth (the daughter of John Molesworth and Louisa/Louise Tomkyns). John was born in Ireland, the son of Richard Molesworth and Catherine Cobb, who was English.
  12. Maternal grandfather: Alfred Joseph Bunning Ruse (the son of Joseph Surridge Ruse and Mary Bunning). Olivia’s great-grandfather Joseph was the son of William Ruse and Mary Surridge. Olivia’s great-grandmother Mary Bunning was the daughter of Joseph Bunning and Mary Stephenson.
  13. Maternal grandmother: Mary Jane Hockin (the daughter of Thomas Hockin and Elizabeth Jane Hawkins). Thomas was the son of William Hockin. Elizabeth was the daughter of Edward Dowle Hawkins.

    “I don’t feel the cold. It’s my British blood!”

  14. Mother: Lillian Augusta (née Ruse; June 11, 1886 – February 20, 1975) was educated at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and became a stage actress. Lillian also sang with the Master of the King’s Music, Sir Walter Parratt, and toured England with the composer Ralph Vaughan Williams.
  15. Father: Walter Augustus de Havilland (August 31, 1872 – May 23, 1968), served as an English professor at the Imperial University in Tokyo before becoming a patent attorney. author of the 1910 book ‘The ABC of Go’, which provides a detailed and comprehensive description of the Japanese board game.

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    Geoffrey de Havilland, 1929.
  16. Paternal cousin: his father, Charles, and their father, Walter, were half-brothers. Sir Geoffrey de Havilland (1882–1965), an aircraft designer and founder of the de Havilland aircraft company. Designer of the de Havilland DH.98 Mosquito is a British multi-role combat aircraft with a two-man crew which served during and after the Second World War. The ill-fated de Havilland Comet was the first commercial jet airliner in 1952.
  17. 15th cousin twice removed: Errol Flynn.
  18. Descendant: of the Haverlands of Normandy, one of whom (the Lord of Haverland) accompanied William the Conquerer in his invasion of England in 1066.
  19. Life in Tokyo: Lillian and Walter met in Japan in 1913 and were married the following year. In Tokyo, Lillian gave informal singing recitals for the European colony.The marriage was not a happy one due in part to Walter’s infidelities.
  20. Moving to California: Lillian persuaded Walter to return to England. On February 1919, they sailed aboard the SS Siberia Maru and decided to stop in San Francisco because Olivia had tonsillitis. Joan developed pneumonia, so Lillian decided to remain with her daughters in California. The family settled in the village of Saratoga, 50 miles (80 km) south of San Francisco. Walter abandoned the family and returned to his Japanese housekeeper, Yuki Matsu-Kura. Lilian divorced him in 1925, he married Yuki in 1927.
  21. Early education: She began ballet lessons at the age of four, piano lessons at five and learned to read before she was six. Her mother occasionally taught dramatic art, music, and elocution and made her recite passages from Shakespeare to strengthen her diction. Olivia began Saratoga Grammar School in 1922. She enjoyed reading, writing poetry, and drawing, and was awarded the 2nd place in a county spelling bee.

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    Olivia, secretary of student body at Los Gatos High School, standing with fellow officers.
  22. Los Gatos High School: She excelled in oratory and field hockey and participated in school plays and the school drama club, eventually becoming the club’s secretary. With plans of becoming a schoolteacher of English and speech, she also attended Notre Dame Convent in Belmont.
  23. Amateur theatre: In 1933, she made her debut in Alice in Wonderland, a production of the Saratoga Community Players. She appeared in several school plays, including The Merchant of Venice and Hansel and Gretel.
  24. Acting passion takes over: When her stepfather George Milan Fontaine discovered that she had won the lead role of Elizabeth Bennett in a school fund-raising production of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, he gave her an ultimatum to either stay home or not return home. Not wanting to let her school and classmates down, she left home forever, moving in with a family friend.
  25. College life: She graduated from high school in 1934 and was offered a scholarship to Mills College in Oakland to pursue her chosen career as an English teacher.

10 devilish facts about Errol Flynn

He often played a dashing hero on the screen but in real life, Errol Flynn was the original “Tassie Devil”.

British actor Stewart Granger said: “He was a bit of a sadistic devil, was Errol, but it was always done with such charm and sense of mischief that he was always forgiven.”


10.
He originally wanted to call his autobiography ‘In Like Me’ due to his fondness for the phrase “in like Flynn”. An expression often used in the media and society based on his ability to seduce women. The publisher insisted on the more toned down title ‘My Wicked, Wicked Ways‘.

9. In 1941, he bought an eleven and half acre property on Mulholland Drive. He built a two-story colonial style ranch house and officially named it “Mulholland Farm”, privately the “playhouse”. Flynn had secret passageways installed with peepholes and two-way mirrors so he could spy on females as they changed into their bathing suits or used the shower in the bathroom. He also installed microphones that were connected to his den so he and his friends could listen to the women discussing the men.

8. He liked to embellish the truth about his life, claiming he had been educated in London and Paris. Or of his glittering film career in Australia, when in truth he had starred in one film, Charles Chauvel’s ‘In the Wake of the bounty’.

7. An 18-year-old Errol arrived on the Montoro in New Guinea in 1st October 1927 for adventure and in pursuit of gold. He sailed back and forth from Sydney to New Guinea for seven years. He moved from job-to-job including: cadet patrol officer, gold prospector, slave recruiter, dynamiting fish, bird trapper, manager of Kenobot coconut plantation near Kokopo, tobacco plantations, air cargo clerk, copra plantation overseer, a partner in a charter schooner business boat captain, pearl diver,  gold prospector and diamond smuggler. Unfortunately, he spent more than he earned, leaving a trail of debts behind him.

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Errol on board the schooner Maski bound for Rabaul, New Guinea

 

 

6. Errol’s parties at Mulholland Farm were legendary. They were known to feature “live dance bands, nude divers, fencing exhibitions, and plenty of girls.” He also had a menagerie of animals.

5. On the weekend of Flynn August 2-3, 1941, did a photo shoot for Life magazine on his yacht the ‘Sirocco’ sailing around Catalina Island. Photographer Peter Stackpole wanted some girls on the boat and Flynn invited Peggy Satterlee. She was only fifteen but Flynn thought she appeared “could have passed for anywhere between twenty and twenty-five.”  Peggy’s parents threaten to tell the police he had seduce their daughter unless they paid him $5000. Flynn refused to pay and they pressed charges. The police decided there was no case, visited the parents in Santa Barbara and persuaded them not to prosecute. Since the girl was very young and would be exposed to a humiliating scandal, the matter was dropped.

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Peggy Satterlee and Betty Hansen. Peggy dressed up in pigtails for the trial.

 

 

4.  A year later, in September 1942, 17-year-old Betty Hansen she was invited to a party at the Bel Air mansion. Betty’s boyfriend urged her to sleep with Flynn in order to get a secretarial job at Warners. She claimed that he had seduced her. The Satterlee episode was revived by a new district attorney. On the 20th November, 1942 Flynn was accused of three accounts of statutory rape against Peggy (two) and Betty. The month long trial acquitted him of the rape but left his reputation and emotional state damaged. Following this, Flynn received two extortion attempts and he was also being watched by the F.B.I. He also had an affair with Linda Christian at the time, she later became Tyrone Power’s wife.

3. Errol Flynn’s friend director Raoul Walsh claims he played a prank on him, the day after John Barrymore’s death. Walsh apparently bribed a mortician to release Barrymore’s body to him because his friend that had arthritis would not be able to attend the funeral. Errol came home to find Barrymore sitting upright in a chair in his den with a drink in his hand.  In ‘My Wicked, Wicked Ways’ Flynn stated: “As I opened the door, I stared into the face of Barrymore. His eyes were closed. He looked puffed, white, bloodless. They hadn’t embalmed him yet. I let out a delirious scream. My heart pounded. I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night.”

2. Flynn was expelled from Hobart High School (on three accounts). His father used his influence to get him into Sydney Grammar and SCEGS (Sydney Church of England Grammar School) but he was expelled after five months for being a ‘disturbing influence’. The reasons are not verified but suggestions of sexual relations and stealing.

1. Flynn was considered to be both misogynistic and a romanticist when it came to women, with an obvious eye for young women later in life. His close friend and house mate David Niven said: “a big turnover was the thing, with the accent on youth. Flynn’s attitude to women perhaps began with his strained relationship with his mother, Marielle. From age five, Flynn witnessed her affairs with other men and she abused him regularly.He was married three times, including a tumultous, often violent marriage to actress Lily Damita. He had countless affairs with women. Affairs with Hollywood ladies included:  Olivia de Havilland, Joan Bennett, Ann Sheridan, Ida Lupino, Linda Christian, Lupe Velez,and Shelley Winter.

Reportedly his last words were “I’ve had a hell of a lot of fun and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”


Sources:

Anderson, N, 28 Sep, 1976, ‘Walsh remembers prank that scared Errol Flynn’, Beaver County Times, pp. 10

Caterson, S., 03 Jun 2009, ‘Genius for living driven by a lust for death’. The Australian.

Garlen, J. July 22, 2012, ‘Errol Flynn autobiography reveals dark side of star’s life‘, The Examiner

McNulty, Thomas, ‘Errol Flynn: The Life and Career’

Mysteries and Scandals: Errol Flynn‘, Youtube, viewed 19/6/2016

Meyers, Jeffrey, ‘Inherited risk: Errol and Sean Flynn in Hollywood and Vietnam’, Southbank Publishing:

Moore, John, ‘The young Errol: Flynn before Hollywood’, Trafford: , 2011

The Duchess of Duke Street

Before Downton Abbey captured the hearts of many, the BBC and ITV produced some compelling period dramas in the 1970s. The BBC tv series The Duchess of Duke Street was captained by the incomparable Gemma Jones who embodied the lead character Louisa Trotter (nee Leyton). Some of you may know her as Pam Jones, Bridget’s mother in Bridget Jones’s Diary, I almost didn’t recognise her because of her posh accent. As the Duchess of Duke Street, she has a rather strong East End accent. You may also know her as Madam Pomfrey in the Harry Potter films. But for me, she will always be Louisa Potter, the Duchess of Duke Street.

The series starts in Mayfair, London 1900, with Louisa obtaining her first job as Assistant Cook to the Chef du cuisine, in the London residence of Lord Haslemere. We follow her life till the series final set in 1925.

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I love this show for many reasons – Gemma’s performance, the rags to riches storyline and the charming supporting characters. Louisa has a strong will, and works hard to fulfil her dream of becoming the best cook in England. She fulfils that dream but life takes a dramatic turn when she catches the eye of Prince Edward. The ongoing romance between her and Lord Haslemere played by Christopher Cazenove keeps you watching each episode. Louisa is formidable but she also loves with ferocity her adopted family consisting mostly of employees of the Bentinck Hotel: her ever faithful Welsh maid Mary (Victoria Plucknett), her right-hand man and later husband “The Major” Major Smith-Barton, ageing butler Merriman (John Welsh) and loyal footman Starr (John Cater) and his Jack Russell terrier ‘Fred’. Fans of early Eastenders will recognise well-known character Dot, played by June Brown as Louisa’s opinionated mother Mrs Leyton. And fans of the fourth Doctor Who will recognise Lalla Ward (Romana) as her daughter Lottie.

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The series was created by John Hawkesworth, who also created Upstairs, Downstairs. I was never a fan. The Duchess of Duke Street ran for two years, 31 episodes (1 hour each) in total. The story is supposed to be loosely based on the real-life of Rosa Lewis (née Ovenden) (1867 – 1952) known as the “Duchess of Jermyn Street”. She was a well-known chef “Queen of Cooks” and owner of the Cavendish Hotel (now The Cavendish). Rosa was born in Leyton, Essex, to a watchmaker. In the series, Louisa’s family name is Leyton, and her father is a clock-maker.

You can find this series on DVD. I have personally watched the whole series on YouTube.

See also an interesting perspective from British actress Tara Fitzgerald, “My TV hero: Tara Fitzgerald on Louisa Trotter“.

Ferris Bueller turns 30

I could start this post by saying that it makes me feel old. To think that this film came out thirty years ago (film’s first USA release was on 11 Jun 1986). Ferris would tell me to live in the moment. And that’s what this film is really all about. Yes, you can watch this film and see it as an 80’s high school flick. But I think you would be doing this film an injustice. It is full of comic genius and an all-over joyful feeling.

Directed and written by John Hughes, in fact, he wrote the script in six days. How’s that for being in the moment. This is a very personal project for Hughes. The set for Ferris’s bedroom was modelled after Hughes own teenage room. Ferris is named after his best friend in high school, Bert Bueller. During the scene where Rooney fights with the intercom at Ferris’ house, there is a shot of the kitchen. On the refrigerator in that shot is a drawing of John Hughes, done by his son who was six at the time.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off is the story of high school senior Ferris Bueller (Matthew Broderick) decides to skip school on a spring day by faking an illness to his clueless parents (Lyman Ward and Cindy Pickett), then encourages his girlfriend, Sloane (Mia Sara), and his pessimistic best friend Cameron (Alan Ruck) to spend the day in Chicago as one of their last flings before they graduate and head off to different colleges. Ferris persuades Cameron to let them use his father’s restored 1961 Ferrari 250 GT California to pick up Sloane (as part of their cover) to travel into the city. The rest of the school and many residents learn of Ferris’ exaggerated illness and offer donations to help “Save Ferris”. However, only two people are not convinced by Ferris’ deception: his sister, Jeanie (Jennifer Grey), outraged at Ferris’ ability to defy authority easily, and the school principal, Edward Rooney (Jeffrey Jones), believing Ferris to be truant. We follow the trio’s antic throughout the rest of the day.

I love every scene in this film. It’s hard to choose a favourite. I think the strength of this film not only lies in Hughes’ direction and writing but in the performances of the main and supporting cast. Mathew Broderick is charming, Mia Sara’s Sloane is perhaps a little hard to warm to at first. Alan Ruck demonstrates Cameron’s character development throughout the film. Edie McClurg and Jeffrey Jones both together and apart are hilarious. Charlie Sheen plays a very convincing drug addict. In fact, he stayed awake for 48 hours before the scene to look the part. His “chat” with Jeannie at the police station is priceless. And somehow Jennifer Grey makes you feel sympathy for Jeannie.

So on 11th June, I implore you to TAKE THE DAY OFF. What better way to celebrate Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Call in sick, get your best friend to do it. Take off somewhere, even if you can’t borrow a 1961 Ferrari 250GT California.

For lovers of classic film and television