Scary Meets Hilarious Halloween Fun! Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein🎃

 

abbott and costello meet frankenstein

I’m a lifelong fan of Halloween and Universal Horror films. From “The Phantom of the Opera”(1925) to “The Wolfman”(1941), I own the entire catalog.

And, when you take those classic monster movies and add in the hilarity of the top comedy duo of the day, you end up with the hit comedy-horror flick “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1948).

 

Starring the legendary comedy team of Bud Abbott and Lou Costello the production has the reputation of being the final nail in the coffin of taking seriously Universal Horror monsters. The film is also considered the swan song for the “Big Three” Universal horror monsters – Count Dracula (Bela Lugosi), Frankenstein’s monster played by (Glenn Strange), and the Wolf Man (Lon Chaney, Jr.), none of whom had appeared in a Universal film since 1945’s House of Dracula.

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left to right – Bud Abbott, Lou Costello, Frankenstein (Glenn Strange), Dracula (Bela Lugosi), and The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.)

The movie makes glorious fun of the classic monsters, Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Wolfman and is one of my all-time favorites!

Bud Abbott and Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (the film’s poster title), or Bud Abbott Lou Costello Meet Frankenstein (the onscreen title)—although the film is usually referred to as simply Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein—is a 1948 American horror comedy film directed by Charles Barton and starring the comedy team of Abbott and Costello. The picture is the first of several films where the comedy duo meets classic characters from Universal’s horror film stable. (Wikipedia)

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The plot revolves around Lawrence Talbot-The Wolfman (Lon Chaney, Jr.) making an urgent call from London to a Florida railway station where Chick Young (Bud Abbott) and Wilbur Grey (Lou Costello) work as baggage clerks. Wilbur answers the phone, and Talbot tries to impart to him the danger of a shipment due to arrive for the “McDougal House Of Horrors”, a local wax museum, which purportedly contains the actual bodies of Count Dracula (BĂ©la Lugosi) and the Frankenstein Monster (Glenn Strange).

Bud and Lou at work

However, before he is able to warn Wilbur, a full moon rises, and Talbot transforms into The Werewolf. Wilbur, thinking the call is a prank, hangs up and continues on with his work day. Later that night, Chick and Wilbur arrive at McDougal’s “House Of Horrors”, open the first crate and find a coffin with “Dracula” inscribed on the front.

When Chick leaves to retrieve the second crate, Wilbur witnesses Dracula awaken and he tries to get Chick’s attention. However, when Chick returns with the second crate, Dracula hides just in time to go unnoticed. Dracula hypnotizes Wilbur and re-animates Frankenstein’s Monster. The plot thickens as Dracula intends to transplant Wilbur’s brain into the Frankenstein Monster. What could possibly go wrong?

The film is peppered with classic Abbott and Costello humor. In a discussion whether Costello would share an extra female admirer of his:

Chick Young: You know the old saying? Everything comes in threes. Now suppose a third girl should fall in love with you?

Wilbur Grey: What’s her name?

Chick Young: We’ll say her name is Mary.

Wilbur Grey: Is she pretty?

Chick Young: Beautiful!

Wilbur Grey: Naturally, she’d have to be.

Chick Young: Now you have Mary, you have Joan, and you have Sandra. So, to prove to you that I’m your pal, your bosom friend, I’ll take one of the girls off your hands.

Wilbur Grey: Chick, you’re what I call a real pal… you take Mary.

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Trivia:

  • The film was originally intended to be titled The Brain of Frankenstein, but its name was changed prior to the filming schedule, which ran from February 5 through March 20, 1948.

  • During filming, Glenn Strange found Costello so funny he would often break up laughing, requiring many retakes (this is readily apparent in the scene where Costello sits on the Monster’s lap).

  • Boris Karloff refused to actually see this film, although he did help promote the film and can be seen in several publicity photos, including one where he is buying a ticket. Karloff appeared with the duo the next year in Abbott and Costello Meet the Killer, Boris Karloff, and in 1953 in Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

  • During the scene in the laboratory where the Monster comes after Chick and Wilbur after throwing Sandra through the window, Glenn Strange stepped on a camera cable, causing the camera to fall and break some bones in his foot. Lon Chaney, Jr., who was not working that day and who had previously played the Monster in The Ghost of Frankenstein, took over the role of the Monster for that scene as well as the scene where the monster is throwing barrels and crates at Wilbur and Chick while they are trying to escape in a rowboat at the pier.

  • This was the only time BĂ©la Lugosi reprised the role he had created in Dracula (1931). He had previously portrayed vampires in Mark of the Vampire (1935), The Return of the Vampire (1943) and would do so again in Mother Riley Meets the Vampire (1952) (and made a gag cameo as Dracula in a 1933 Hollywood on Parade short), but this was the only other time he played Dracula as a sustained role on film.

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Abbott and Costello were a comedy double act during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. The team was composed of William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello whose work in vaudeville and on stage, radio, film and television made them the most popular comedy team during the 1940s and early 1950s. Their patter routine “Who’s on First?” is one of the best-known comedy routines of all time and set the framework for many of their best-known comedy bits. (Wikipedia)

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello

In 2001, the United States Library of Congress deemed “Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein”culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant” and selected it for preservation in the National Film Registry, and in September 2007, Readers Digest selected the movie as one of the top 100 funniest films of all time. The film is number 56th on the list of the “American Film Institute’s 100 Funniest American Movies”. (Wikipedia)

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“Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” is a playful romp through the Universal Horror franchise and a great family movie to add to your Halloween viewing list.

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“Feed Me Seymour” – The Little Shop Of HorrorsđŸŽƒđŸŒ·

 

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A funny thing happened at my 6-month dental check-up. Sitting in the dentist’s chair a lightbulb came on and the idea for this post hit me square in the mouth, “The Little Shop of Horrors”(1960)!

 

People are probably more familiar with the 1986 musical version directed by Frank Oz and starring Steve Martin (demented dentist), Rick Moranis, (Seymour) Ellen Greene (Audrey), Tichina Arnold, and Tisha Campbell (as the urchins).

 

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The 1986 film is a remake of the hit Broadway stage production which was a remake of the 1960 movie. (Phew, that took the long way around)

I had the fantastic experience of performing in a stage production as one of the street urchins. Chiffon, Crystal, and Ronette are fashioned after girl groups from the 1960’s. It was one of my favorite shows and roles in my community theater career.

The original 1960 film was a  black comedy horror film directed by Detroit-born (my hometown) and celebrated B-movie legend, Roger Corman and written by Charles B. Griffith. The film is a farce about an inadequate florist’s assistant (Jonathan Haze) who cultivates a plant that feeds on human flesh and blood.

The film stars Jonathan Haze (Seymour), Jackie Joseph (Audrey), Mel Welles (Mr. Mushnick), and Dick Miller, all of whom had worked for Corman on previous films. Produced under the title “The Passionate People Eater”. It was a lot creepier and darker than either the 1986 film or Broadway production.

The film’s concept is thought to be based on a 1932 story called “Green Thoughts”, by John Collier, about a man-eating plant. However, author Dennis McDougal in Jack Nicholson‘s biography suggests that Griffith may have been influenced by Arthur C. Clarke’s sci-fi short story ‘The Reluctant Orchid’. (Wikipedia)

The film became the basis for the horror comedy and Off-Broadway rock musical, Little Shop of Horrors (1982). By composer Alan Menken and writer Howard Ashman, the production was notably made into the 1986 feature film.

Trivia:

  • The film also garnered attention as a movie that was made into a Broadway production; it’s usually the other way around.

  • Writer, Charles B. Griffith, was the voice of Audrey 2 in 1960 film.

  • Levi Stubbs (lead singer of The Four Tops-Motown group) was the voice of Audrey II in 1986 movie.

  • Ellen Greene played Audrey in the Off-Broadway Production.

  • The gleefully masochistic dental patient, originally played by Jack Nicholson, is not in the musical but is in the 1986 film, played by Bill Murray.

 

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Off-Broadway Production of “Little Shop of Horrors” 1982 with Ellen Greene immediately right of Audrey 2

A young Jack Nicholson‘s small role as the masochistic dental patient in the 1960 film was a hysterical standout. At the time of filming, Jack Nicholson had appeared in two films and had worked with Roger Corman as the lead in “The Cry Baby Killer”.

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Roger Corman

According to Nicholson, “I went into the shoot knowing I had to be very quirky because Roger originally hadn’t wanted me. In other words, I couldn’t play it straight. So I just did a lot of weird shit that I thought would make it funny.”

Even though this was only his third film you could see that his talent was something quite special.

Because I’m a big-time musical theater lover, my affinity is for the 1986 film. The musical numbers were fabulous, the performances outstanding, and the memories lasting.

I loved performing the opening “Urchin” musical number “Little Shop of Horrors” which was also from the Off-Broadway stage production:

The film, directed by Frank Oz (Muppets), differs only slightly from the stage play. The title song is expanded to include an additional verse to allow for more opening credits. The song “Ya Never Know” was re-written into a calypso-style song called “Some Fun Now”, although some of the lyrics were retained.

 

Four other songs (“Closed for Renovation”, “Mushnik and Son”, “Now (It’s Just the Gas)”, as well as “Call Back in the Morning”) were cut from the original production score. An original song was written by Ashman and Menken, “Mean Green Mother from Outer Space”, was created for the film.

For a fun and dark Halloween double feature, I highly recommend checking out “The Little Shop of Horrors” (1960) and the remake, “Little Shop of Horrors” (1986). A little something for everyone.

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Happy Halloween!

Truth at its Finest – The Great Dictator (1940)

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Charlie Chaplin is one of the greatest filmmakers in motion picture history. Robert Downey, Jr. brilliantly portrayed his tremendous talent and career in the 1992 film “Chaplin”. I’ve always loved Chaplin not just because of his comedic gifts but like myself, he stood firm in the belief that art is political. A position which caused him to be kicked out of the United States for “subversive” beliefs.

 

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Sir Charles SpencerCharlieChaplin, (16 April 1889 – 25 December 1977) was an English comic actor, filmmaker, and composer who rose to fame during the era of silent film. Chaplin became a worldwide icon through his screen persona “the Tramp” and is considered one of the most important figures in the history of the film industry.

 

His career spanned more than 75 years, from childhood in the Victorian era until a year before his death in 1977, and encompassed both adulation and controversy. (Wikipedia)

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Charlie Chaplin

Probably the most prophetic film of his extraordinary career was “The Great Dictator” (1940). Chaplin’s final speech resonates at the core of what it means to be human today just as it did over 75 years ago. Written by Chaplin, it emphasizes just how vital it is to know your history because those who don’t are doomed to repeat it.

 

Created in direct opposition to Hitler’s reign of terror, Chaplin warns of the devastation of giving up our humanity and implores us to love each other.

The Great Dictator is the 1940 American political satire comedy-drama film written, directed, produced, scored by and starring Charlie Chaplin. Charlie Chaplin was unique because he was the only Hollywood filmmaker to continue to make silent films well into the period of sound films, this was Chaplin’s first true sound film.

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This scene is so beautiful in its simplicity and elegance; while at the same time mocking the hubris of Hitler, the genocide, antisemitic dictator.

Language similar to a candidate running for President in 2016. Same delusional dream.

Chaplin’s film is a scathing and controversial condemnation of Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, fascism, antisemitism, and the Nazis. At the time the film was released, the United States hadn’t entered into World War II and the fight against Nazi Germany.

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After seeing this masterpiece, my respect and admiration for Chaplin grew even more. He spoke up when others wouldn’t. That’s the kind of morality and integrity that seems to be sorely lacking in today’s politics.

Chaplin was so talented, and for even more contrast, played both leading roles: a ruthless fascist dictator, and a persecuted Jewish barber.

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Charlie Chaplin as Adenoid Hynkel (Hitler) and the Jewish Barber

The Great Dictator was popular with audiences, becoming Chaplin’s most commercially successful film. Modern critics have also praised it as a historically significant film and an important work of satire. (Wikipedia)

The Great Dictator was nominated for five Academy Awards – Outstanding Production, Best Actor, Best Writing (Original Screenplay), Best Supporting Actor for Jack Oakie, and Best Music (Original Score).

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In his 1964 autobiography, Chaplin stated that he could not have made the film if he had known about the true extent of the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps at the time. (Wikipedia)

 

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At the end of his life, Chaplin was finally awarded the respect and accolades befitting of his expansive career and achievements. This is Sir Charles accepting his honorary Academy Award in 1972. I watched this presentation and cried with admiration the entire time.

 

Thank you, Charlie.💖

 

Blacula 1972 💀🎃

 

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Original 1972 theatrical poster

Way to turn the classic “Dracula” on its’ head! I think the idea to present Blacula as an 18th Century African prince during the slave trade was historical and topical. Although considered a Blaxploitation horror film, it was taken with a serious approach and hits the mark on the classic Universal horror flick.

This trailer is so typical of an American International Picture, high on exploitation and drama. Formed on April 2, 1954, from American Releasing Corporation (ARC) by James H. Nicholson, former Sales Manager of Realart Pictures, and Samuel Z. Arkoff, an entertainment lawyer. It was dedicated to releasing independently produced, low-budget films.

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Samuel Zachary Arkoff (12 June 1918 – 16 September 2001)

The ARKOFF formula:

  • Action (exciting, entertaining drama)

  • Revolution (novel or controversial themes and ideas)

  • Killing (a modicum of violence)

  • Oratory (notable dialogue and speeches)

  • Fantasy (acted-out fantasies common to the audience)

  • Fornication (sex appeal, for young adults)

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The plot of Blacula is the story of Manuwalde (William Marshall), an African Prince. It’s a modern twist on the classic Dracula legend and is told in a very compelling and chilling way.

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William Marshall “Blacula”

In the year 1780, while on a goodwill visit to ask Count Dracula (Charles Macaulay) to help him suppress the slave trade, (which existed in parts of Africa, like the rest of the world, and was a part of the economic structure of some societies for many centuries), he is refused by the Count. Instead, Manuwalde is turned into a vampire by Count Dracula and wife, Luva (Vonetta McGee) is killed.

Quote – Dracula: You shall pay, black prince. I shall place a curse of suffering on you that will doom you to a living hell. I curse you with my name. You shall be… Blacula!

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The scene then shifts to the year 1972 with two interior decorators from modern-day Los Angeles California traveling to Castle Dracula in Transylvania and unknowingly purchasing the now-undead Mamuwalde’s coffin, which they ship to Los Angeles.

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One of the interior decorators – Could he be Richard Simmons’ twin or what?😄

Later unlocking the coffin, the decorators release Mamuwalde, becoming his first two victims as a vampire, turning them and others he encounters in his bloodthirsty reign of terror into vampires like himself. (Wikipedia)

Blacula was released on August 25, 1972, to mixed reviews.  American International Pictures’ marketing department in an effort to ensure that black audiences would be interested in Blacula; created posters for the film including references to slavery.

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Noted for creating the Blaxploitation horror genre, Blacula debuted at #24 on Variety’s list of top films. It eventually grossed over a million dollars, making it one of the highest-grossing films of 1972. A sequel to the film titled Scream Blacula Scream was released in 1973 by American International. The film also stars William Marshall in the title role along with actress and star of (“Foxy Brown” 1974) Pam Grier.

 

Trivia:

Blacula was in production between late January and late March 1972. While Blacula was in its production stages, William Marshall worked with the film producers to make sure his character had some dignity.

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His character name was changed from Andrew Brown to Mamuwalde and his character received a background story about being an African prince who had succumbed to vampirism.

Blacula was shot on location in Los Angeles, with some scenes shot in the Watts neighborhood and the final scenes taken at the Hyperion Outfall Treatment Plant in the beachside, west Los Angeles Playa del Rey.

The Hues Corporation - Blacula 1972

The Hues Corporation 1972

The music for Blacula is unlike that of most horror films as it uses rhythm and blues as opposed to haunting classical music. The film’s soundtrack features a score by Gene Page, who was one of the most prolific arrangers/conductors of popular music during his time and worked on more than 200 gold and platinum records.

A variety of the artists Gene Page worked with:

The Supremes, The Four Tops, Buffalo Springfield, Barbra Streisand, Donna Loren, Martha and the Vandellas, Cher, Barry White, The Love Unlimited Orchestra, Whitney Houston, George Benson, The Jackson Five, Roberta Flack,Elton John, José Feliciano, Leo Sayer, Seals & Croft, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations, Frankie Valli, Dobie Gray, Peabo Bryson, Lionel Richie, Jeffrey Osborne

Music on the soundtrack also included contributions by The Hues Corporation. They are best known for their 1974 single “Rock the Boat”, which sold over 2 million copies. (Wikipedia)

Shampoo💇💆😎

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Shampoo (1975)

I may be dating myself, what am I saying, I KNOW I’m dating myself but there was a time back in the day when Warren Beatty (Bonnie & Clyde, Splendor in the Grass) was the finest dude, not just in Hollywood but dare I say the planet!

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Warren Beatty and Natalie Wood

Beatty was gracing the covers of celebrity magazines back in the ’50’s, long before the current crop of “world’s sexiest man” covers and was dating star Natalie Wood (“Miracle on 34th” Street, “Rebel Without a Cause“) and other beautiful ingenues making women swoon with envy.

The “fine” phases of Warren Beatty

young and hot Warren Beatty

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“Shampoo” hot and sexy Beatty

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“Shampoo” (1975) is the story of George Roundy (Warren Beatty) the womanizing hairdresser who realizes too late that his life of philandering has cost him the love of his life. George’s case is that “he can’t help it, they smell so good.”

The film stars Warren Beatty, Julie Christie, and Goldie Hawn (Kate Hudson’s mom), with Lee Grant, Jack Warden, Tony Bill and in an early film appearance, Carrie Fisher. The movie is set on Election Day 1968, the day Richard Nixon was first elected as President of the United States, and was released soon after the Watergate scandal had reached its conclusion.

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Goldie Hawn, Nixon, Warren Beatty

The political atmosphere provides a source of dramatic irony, since the audience, but not the characters, are aware of the direction the Nixon presidency would eventually take. However, the main theme of the film is not presidential politics but sexual politics; it is renowned for its sharp satire of late-1960s sexual and social mores. (Wikipedia)

I almost didn’t publish this post because of recent disturbing events going on right now in politics but thought no, this film isn’t about committing assault, it’s about facing your viewpoint of morality and realizing how callously you’ve been living your life.

When I first thought about posting this it was based on the politics of the ’60’s then ironically found myself in mid-sentence realizing that the controversies of the Nixon era have nothing on the despicable state of politics today.

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Goldie Hawn, Julie Christie, Tony Bill, Warren Beatty

But I digress, I loved “Shampoo” because of one – watching fine Warren Beatty and two – the ending. You have to pay the piper and take responsibility for your actions. George represented a lot of guys who thought doing as many women as possible was cool and made them all that but, the truth is, what goes around, comes around.

“Shampoo” was Carrie Fisher’s first film and won Lee Grant the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. The film was directed by the brilliant Hal Ashby. (Harold and Maude 1971)

Other Academy nominations were:

Robert Towne (“Chinatown”) and Warren Beatty – Best Writing, Original Screenplay

  • Best Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy)

  • Best Motion Picture Actor (Musical or Comedy) – Warren Beatty

  • Best Motion Picture Actress (Musical or Comedy) – Julie Christie & Goldie Hawn

The lead character, George Roundy, is reportedly based on several actual hairdressers, including Jay Sebring and film producer Jon Peters, who is a former hairdresser. Sebring was brutally murdered by the Charles Manson family in 1969. According to the 2010 book Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America by Peter Biskind, the screenwriter Towne based the character on Beverly Hills hairdresser Gene Shacove. (Wikipedia)

 

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Jay Sebring

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Jon Peters

The film had little critical praise but commercially, “Shampoo” was a great success. Produced on a budget of $4 million, the film grossed $49,407,734 domestically and $60 million at the worldwide box office. It was the fourth most successful film of 1975 by box office takings, beaten only by Jaws, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and The Rocky Horror Picture Show. (Wikipedia)

I had no idea that the year after its release there was a blaxploitation send-up, Black Shampoo.

Trivia: Warren Beatty is actress, author Shirley Maclaine’s brother.

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Now

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Shirley MacLaine and Warren Beatty

Henry Warren Beatty (born March 30, 1937) has been nominated for fourteen Academy Awards – four for Best Actor, four for Best Picture, two for Best Director, three for Original Screenplay, and one for Adapted Screenplay – winning Best Director for Reds (1981).

Beatty is the first and only person to have been twice nominated for acting in, directing, writing,and producing the same film – first with Heaven Can Wait (1978), which was co-written by Elaine May and co-directed by Buck Henry, and again with Reds, which he co-wrote with Trevor Griffiths.

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In 1999, he was awarded the Academy’s highest honor, the Irving G. Thalberg Award. Beatty has been nominated for eighteen Golden Globe Awards, winning six, including the Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award, with which he was honored in 2007.

Among his Golden Globe-nominated films are, Splendor in the Grass (1961), Bonnie and Clyde (1967), Shampoo (1975), Dick Tracy (1990), Bugsy (1991), and Bulworth (1998). (Wikipedia)

Warren Beatty’s Political Honors:

Eleanor Roosevelt Award from the Americans for Democratic Action, the Brennan Legacy Award from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, the Phillip Burton Public Service Award from the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, and the Spirit of Hollywood Award from the Associates for Breast and Prostate Cancer Studies.

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Beatty was a founding board member of the Center for National Policy, a founding member of the Progressive Majority, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, has served as the Campaign Chair for the Permanent Charities Committee, and has participated in the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

He served on the Board of Trustees at the Scripps Research Institute and the Board of Directors of the Motion Picture and Television Fund Foundation. He was named Honorary Chairman of the Stella Adler Studio of Acting in 2004. (Wikipedia)

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Looks like Warren Beatty has been more than just “fine”. Over his career, he’s been accomplished both in Hollywood and the political arena.

 

 

Jammin’ at the Movies 2 – Music that Makes the MoviesđŸŽ¶đŸŽŹđŸ˜Ž

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Movie Soundtracks

What would the film experience be without a memorable soundtrack that sets the mood, pumps up the action and evokes nostalgic memories?

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As I started writing “Jammin’ at the Movies – Music that Makes the Movies” I realized there were far too many films to note in one post, so these are a few others that make my list of movie soundtracks that are synonymous with the film itself.

“Pulp Fiction”, “Forrest Gump”, and “Saturday Night Fever” are true American classics and so are their soundtracks!

 

Let me know some of your most notable in the comments!

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The idea of musical accompaniment has been around since silent films but with the advent of sound in the 1920’s, filmmakers were able to have direct control over the soundtrack as a device to manipulate the audience’s emotions.

The first film to use a completely original score was written by composer Max Steiner for the classic ‘King Kong’ (1933).

 

Imagine Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” without those driving Bernard Herrmann violins and strings during the shower scene and the ominous “dun-dun-dun” that alerted the audience to the arrival of “Jaws” thus evoking all kinds of fear. With the Soundtrack Album, audiences have the freedom to listen to and relive the memories of their favorite films at any time.

In developing his film projects Director, Quentin Tarantino approaches the movie process in this way:

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

“One of the things I do when I am starting a movie, when I’m writing a movie or when I have an idea for a film is, I go through my record collection and just start playing songs, trying to find the personality of the movie, find the spirit of the movie. Then, ‘boom,’ eventually I’ll hit one, two or three songs, or one song in particular, ‘Oh, this will be a great opening credit song.” (Tracks and Fields)

 

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“Pulp Fiction” (1994), “Forrest Gump” (1994), and “Saturday Night Fever” (1977) are 3 of my favorite films that demonstrate the impactful relationship between the storyline and the music.

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Pulp Fiction

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“Pulp Fiction”(1994) is the coolest film and soundtrack ever. QuentinTarantino (Oscar for Best Original Screenplay) certainly had his finger on the pulse of the vital connection music plays in conveying the attitude of this movie and put together the perfect soundtrack to complement the mood.

First of all, I would love to hang at Jack Rabbit Slims. I love all things 60’s and between the cars and the celebrity impersonators, how fun! Second, this is how you dance cool. I remember all the back in the day dances like the twist, the jerk, and the batman.

The album reached No. 21 on the Billboard 200, while Urge Overkill’s cover of the Neil Diamond song “Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon” peaked at No. 59 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Billboard chalked up MCA’s compilation to identifying the market niche: “Pulp Fiction…successfully spoke to those attuned to the hip, stylized nature of those particular films.” The eclectic “mix-and-match strategy” is true to the film.

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“In some cases, like Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs, which were not geared toward any specific demographic, the soundtracks were still very focused albums,” said Kathy Nelson, senior VP/general manager at MCA Soundtracks. “In both cases, the body of work — both the music and the film — has a specific personality.” (Wikipedia)

Trivia – revitalized the career of its leading man, John Travolta, who received an Academy Award nomination, as did co-stars Samuel L. Jackson and Uma Thurman.

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Forrest Gump

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Academy Award-winning film “Forrest Gump” (1994) starring Tom Hanks and based on the 1986 novel of the same name by Winston Groom, will always have a special place in my heart. The genuine spirit and remarkable journey of Forrest make you root for him.

The time setting of the ’60’s was perfect with the politics of the day and the Vietnam War being the volatile flashpoint of the decade.

The 32-song soundtrack from the film was released on July 6, 1994, and re-creates the angst of a generation and is perfect for fusing the film with the troubled times.

With the exception of a lengthy suite from Alan Silvestri’s score, all the songs are previously released; the soundtrack includes songs from Fleetwood Mac, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Byrds, The Doors, The Mamas & the Papas, The Simon & Garfunkel, and Buffalo Springfield among others.

 

 

Music producer Joel Sill reflected on compiling the soundtrack: “We wanted to have very recognizable material that would pinpoint time periods, yet we didn’t want to interfere with what was happening cinematically.”

 

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The soundtrack reached a peak of number 2 on the Billboard album chart and went on to sell twelve million copies and is one of the top-selling albums in the United States. (Wikipedia)

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Saturday Night Fever

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The mother of all movie soundtracks, Saturday Night Fever: The Original Movie Sound Track skyrocketed The Bee Gees  and their music to the top of the charts with their timeless love ballads and energizing disco hits like the title song, “Staying Alive”.

From the 1977 hit film starring John Travolta, the album was certified 15× Platinum for shipments of over 15 million copies. The album stayed atop the album charts for 24 straight weeks from January-July 1978 and stayed on Billboards album charts for 120 weeks until March 1980. In the UK, the album spent 18 consecutive weeks at No. 1.

The Bee Gees

Maurice, Barry, Robin Gibb – The Bee Gees

The brothers wrote the songs “virtually in a single weekend” at ChĂąteau d’HĂ©rouville studio in France. Barry Gibb remembered the reaction when Producer Robert Stigwood and music supervisor Bill Oakes arrived and listened to the demos:

“They flipped out and said these will be great. We still had no concept of the movie, except some kind of rough script that they’d brought with them.” The album has been added to the National Recording Registry in the Library of Congress for being culturally significant. (Wikipedia)

Even more, than the incredible music, John Travolta blew me away with his club-worthy dance moves. Who knew the kid from the television show “Welcome Back Kotter” could bust a move!

Trivia – John Travolta’s mother Helen and sister Ann both appeared in minor roles in the beginning of the film. Travolta’s sister is the pizzeria waitress who serves him the pizza slices (and delivers the first dialogue), and his mother plays the woman to whom he sells the can of paint (after being late).

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If you haven’t already, check out these rockin’ flicks. Perfect for a musical binge-worthy night!

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“Assume the Crash Position”, It’s Airplane!đŸ›«

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The disaster genre has been around long before “The Master of Disaster” Irwin Allen came on the scene in the 1970’s when the genre came into particular prominence with the release of high-profile films such as Airport (1970), followed in quick succession by Irwin Allen’s “The Poseidon Adventure (1972), Earthquake (1974) and another Allen hit, “The Towering Inferno” in (1974).

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These films often feature large casts of actors and multiple plotlines, focusing on the characters’ attempts to avert, escape or cope with the disaster and its aftermath.

Disaster themes are almost as old as the film medium itself. One of the earliest was Fire! (1901) made by James Williamson of England. The silent film portrayed a burning house and the firemen who arrive to quench the flames and rescue the inhabitants.

Screenshot from the film "Fire!" (1901)

Screenshot from the silent film “Fire!” (1901)

Inspired by the end of World War II and the beginning of the Atomic Age, science fiction films of the 1950s, including When Worlds Collide (1953), The War of the Worlds (1953) and Godzilla, King of the Monsters! (1956), routinely used world disasters as plot elements.

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Additional precursors to the popular disaster films of the 1970s include The High and the Mighty (1954), starring John Wayne and Robert Stack as pilots of a crippled airplane attempting to cross the ocean; Zero Hour! (1957), written by Arthur Hailey (who also penned the 1968 novel Airport) about an airplane crew that succumbs to food poisoning.

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“Zero Hour!” (1957)

And this is where David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams enter the picture. Being influenced by the 1957 disaster film, Zero Hour! the 3 writers crafted ideas for a script as they described the movie as a “perfectly classically structured film” according to Jerry Zucker. Abrahams later described Zero Hour! as “the serious version of Airplane!“. It was the first film script the trio wrote and completed around 1975. The film was originally called The Late Show. (Wikipedia)

In 1980 this classic and definitive homage to the disaster genre was released, “Airplane!”

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Airplane! (titled Flying High! in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan and the Philippines) is the brilliant satirical parody directed and written by the incredible team of David and Jerry Zucker, Jim Abrahams, (abbreviated ZAZ) and produced by Jon Davison.

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Plot: How do you handle a pilotless airplane full of crazy, food poisoned passengers, one ex-fighter pilot (and the would-be hero) with a drinking problem and a frisky auto-pilot named Otto? These are some of the random problems kinda solved in this totally off the wall, mayhem inspired comedy.

This clip of classic scenes says it all about the madness I love, “Airplane!”

This slap-stick classic stars Robert Hays and Julie Hagerty. It also features,(in their comedic debut), Leslie Nielsen, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges, Peter Graves, and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

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Lloyd Bridges, Robert Stack

The stars, Robert Stack, Lloyd Bridges and Leslie Nielsen had long established careers as dramatic, action characters before “Airplane!” They were hired because the Zucker Brothers wanted to cast the film against type although Leslie Nielsen insisted that he had always been cast against type. He originally wanted to play comedy.

Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen’s line (in response to Hays’ question ‘surely you can’t be serious’), “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley,” was 79th on AFI’s list of the best 100 movie quotes. (Wikipedia)

The superstar cameo of the film was Barbara Billingsley. (The Beaver’s reserved mom, June Cleaver, on the 1950’s tv classic “Leave it to Beaver”) Cast against type as well, she makes an appearance as, “Jive Lady”, a woman who announces she speaks jive (slang) and can translate for two black passengers whom no one could quite understand. Miss June don’t play. 😎 Hilarious! Thanks, June.đŸ€—âœŠđŸœ

Barbara Billingsley

Barbara Billingsley

“Airplane!” received universal acclaim from critics and is widely regarded as one of the best films of 1980. Although, before its release, the directors had been apprehensive due to a mediocre response at one of the pre-screenings. But the film earned its entire budget of about $3.5 million in its first weekend of release. Overall, it earned more than $83 million in box office gross for $40 million in rentals, making it the fourth highest-grossing film of 1980.

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Otto, Julie Hagerty, Robert Hays

Based on 58 reviews, compiled retrospectively, Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a score of 97% judging it “Certified Fresh.” The consensus on the site reads “Though unabashedly juvenile and silly, Airplane! is nevertheless an uproarious spoof comedy full of quotable lines and slapstick gags that endure to this day.” (Wikipedia)

 

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The film is recognized by American Film Institute in these lists:

  • 2000: AFI’s 100 Years…100 Laughs – #10

  • 2005: AFI’s 100 Years…100 Movie Quotes:

The film’s creators received the Writers Guild of America Award for Best Adapted Comedy, and nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy and a BAFTA Award for Best Screenplay.

 

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In 2010, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

 

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If you’re ever feeling stressed, and or depressed, just pop this little gem in the DVD player and laugh your ass off!