“Phenomenal Woman” – R.I.P – Dr. Maya Angelou

Renowned Poet, Author, Actress and Director dies at 86.  

May her soul and her spirit forever soar.

 

A remarkable Renaissance woman who is hailed as one of the great voices of contemporary literature. Credited with a list of plays, movies, and television shows spanning more than fifty years.

 

Maya Ang

April 4, 1928 – May 28, 2014

 

 

Maya Phenomenal woman

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Oscar Michaeux – First Black Independent Filmmaker

Oscar Devereaux Micheaux was an American author, film director and independent producer of more than 44 films.

Oscar M

 

FilmmakerScreenwriterJournalist (1884–1951)

 

 

 

2001: A Space Odyssey with Pink Floyd

Classic Rock Meets Classic Film. Groove for the weekend!

Listening to Pink Floyd‘s “The Darkside of the Moon” sync up with “The Wizard of Oz” blew up my belief that it was just an “urban legend“.  A few years back – and I don’t think we need to get into the number – my daughter had me cue up “Wizard of OZ”, put on Pink Floyd’s “Darkside of the Moon.”  And holy crap!  It worked.

Here’s a twist: “2001: A Space Odyssey” with Pink Floyd.  Some mind-blowing  fun for the weekend.  Enjoy!

 

“A Hard Day’s Night” 1964

A Hard Day’s Night

beatles hard days night

Ringo Starr, George Harrison, John Lennon & Paul McCartney of the Beatles in ‘A Hard Day’s Night’

 

In celebration of the film’s 50th anniversary, cities across the U.S. will screen movie on Fourth of July weekend

 

A_Hard_Days_night_movieposter

 

What an inspired idea Beatles manager Brian Epstein had to introduce the world to John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr in the 1964 film “A Hard Day’s Night”.  Naturals for the camera, the lads stole our hearts and delivered a funny, nonstop scream fest!  Paul’s “grandfather” (“villain, a real mixer” 🙂 (Wilfrid Brambell) practically stole the show ascending from under the stage during the middle of a number!

The film never gets old and always lifts my spirits and brings a smile with thoughts and memories of a glorious time gone by.

 

 

Directed by Richard Lester
Produced by Walter Shenson
Written by Alun Owen
Starring John Lennon
Paul McCartney
George Harrison
Ringo Starr
Wilfrid Brambell
Norman Rossington
John Junkin
Victor Spinetti
Maggie d’Abo
Music by The Beatles
George Martin
Cinematography Gilbert Taylor
Editing by John Jympson
Studio Proscenium Films
Walter Shenson Films
Maljack Productions
Distributed by United Artists
Release dates 6 July 1964 (UK)

 

Guilty Pleasures part deux – “Streets of Fire” 1984

Streets of Fire posterart

Streets of Fire starring Michael Pare and Diane Lane is my favorite “Rock n Roll Fable!”

In a town existing somewhere between the 50’s and the 80’s, this rock n roll love story revolves around the kidnapping of hometown girl turned star, Ellen Aim. Kidnapped by gang leader Raven Shaddock during her concert performance, her ex-soldier boyfriend Tom Cody arrives in town on a mission to rescue Ellen from The Bombers (Raven’s gang). Let the adventure begin!

I fantasized being Ellen Aim. Cool rock chick jammin on stage and driving the crowd wild!  Oh yeah!

And how cool was that opening number? “Nowhere Fast”. “You and me we’re going nowhere slowly. And we gotta get away from the past. There’s nothing wrong with going nowhere baby. But we should be going nowhere fast”.

 

And I love, love, loved The Sorels! An early 60’s style group in need of a break and discovered by Ellen’s manager, Billy Fish. Absolutely fantastic!  They had the moves, the energy, so effervescent!!

The Sorels:

 The Sorels Trivia:

Stoney Jackson dancer in Michael Jackson’s”Beat It” video

Robert Townsend director of Hollywood Shuffle 1987

(if you haven’t seen it you should really check it out!)

Mykelti Williamson played Bubba in Forest Gump

“If I Can Dream About You” – Recorded by Dan Hartman

 

 

And the final number, “Tonight is What It Means to be Young” still gives me goosebumps. Her heartbreak, his tortured soul at having to go.  If that isn’t a theatrical climax, then I don’t know what is.

 

Directed by Walter Hill
Produced by Lawrence Gordon
Joel Silver
Written by Walter Hill
Larry Gross
Starring Michael Paré
Diane Lane
Rick Moranis
Amy Madigan
Willem Dafoe
Elizabeth Daily
Music by Ry Cooder
Cinematography Andrew Laszlo
Editing by James Coblentz
Freeman A. Davies
Michael Ripps
Studio RKO Pictures
Universal Pictures
Distributed by Universal Pictures
Release dates June 1, 1984
Running time 93 minutes

Guilty Pleasures – “Wild in the Streets” 1968

Wild_in_the_streets_dvd_cover

“Wild in the Streets”

Open up the confessional of guilty pleasures cause this film is mine. Obsessed since I was a kid, I totally related to the “younger generation” running things and not the “old cats” who always mess things up in this country. “Thirty and out” was my mantra. “Old fat cats” only in the game for their own personal gain. Yeah, I was a bit of a rebel. (or so my sister’s always say:)

Directed by Barry Shear
Produced by Samuel Z. Arkoff
James H. Nicholson
Written by Robert Thom
Based on novella The Day It All Happened, Baby by Robert Thom
Starring Christopher Jones
Shelley Winters
Richard Pryor
Diane Varsi
Hal Holbrook
Music by Les Baxter
Distributed by American International Pictures
Release dates
  • May 29, 1968
Running time 94 min.

 

 

And don’t get me started on Christopher Jones. Love him, and his hair?  It was awesome!  Jones had that whole brooding, tortured vibe like Marlon Brando and James Dean.  The Christopher Jones character Max Frost was a pop star millionaire who gets “turned on” to the 60’s political scene and decides to exercise his views on free love, youth is the majority, women have rights and ultimately runs for President of the United States.  And it only gets better from there!

 

Max Frost sayings: “Troops”, “Babies”, “14 or Fight.”

 The Music

The soundtrack is the backdrop for the politics. Max and The Troopers deal with current issues of the time (’67).  Voting age: “14 or Fight”.”If I can fight I can vote”.   Ageism: If you’re 50 does that make you more competent?  The 25 and under age group is the majority.  “We have the power”.  Women’s rights: “Chicks would have killed for the vote”.

The Troopers:

Sally LeRoyDiane Varsi

Stanley XRichard Pryor

Billy CageKevin Coughlin

The Hook, AbrahamLarry Bishop

Trivia

“The Shape of Things to Come”, written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil, was a #22 chart hit for Max Frost and the Troopers (a “studio group”, made up of session musicians) in 1968.

Nominated for Oscar:

Best Film Editing
Fred R. Feitshans Jr.
Eve Newman

Best Film
Barry Shear

 

 

What resonated with me then and now? The political implications of organizing and using that voice and numbers for change. But also the nightmare when ideas become an extreme.

 

 

This flick was over the top but had it’s pulse on the fears of the 60’s and a possible dysfunctional future. American International  founders Samuel Z. Arkoff and James H. Nicholson were genius! They were one of the first production companies to recognize and capitalize on the growing teen market. Think beach, biker, monster, drive-in movies. Think American International.

 

American International Pictures
Industry Filmed entertainment
Fate Acquired by Filmways
Successor(s) Filmways
Founded April, 1954
Defunct 1980
Headquarters Los Angeles, California
Key people James H. NicholsonSamuel Z. Arkoff

 

C Jones

 Christopher Jones

After “Wild in the Streets” Christopher Jones only made a couple more films, “Three in the Attic” 1968. Classic 60’s love in fest. The big studios took notice and David Lean offered him the romantic lead in the big budget drama “Ryan’s Daughter” 1970. Reportedly it was on the set of the film he had a nervous breakdown after hearing of Sharon Tate’s murder and shortly after left the Hollywood scene.

His last appearance was in the 1996 crime comedy “Mad Dog Time” opposite Richard Dreyfuss.  In his later years he had a career as an artist and sculptor. He died from cancer on January 31, 2014 at the age of 72.