“All About Eve” Harrington is Back!

Fasten your seatbelts. … #AllAboutEve is coming to theatres

 

All About Eve

March 5th & 8th 2017

 

From the moment she glimpses her idol on Broadway, Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter) strives to upstage Margo Channing (Bette Davis). After cunningly stealing Margo’s role, Eve disrupts the lives of anyone close to the actress in this timeless cinematic masterpiece. With its witty dialogue and knockout performances, the film earned a record 14 Oscar nominations* and also features Marilyn Monroe in an early supporting role.

 

1950: Best Picture (won), Supporting Actor (George Sanders, won), Costume Design (B&W, won), Directing (won), Sound Recording (won), Screenplay (won), Actress (Anne Baxter), Actress (Bette Davis), Supporting Actress (Celeste Holm), Supporting Actress (Thelma Ritter), Art Direction (B&W), Cinematography (B&W), Film Editing, Music (Score).

The principal cast of All About Eve. (Left to right) Gary Merrill, Bette Davis, George Sanders, Anne Baxter, Hugh Marlowe and Celeste Holm

Bette Davis is one of my all time favorite actresses! Her style and attitude both on and offscreen are legendary. She didn’t take any stuff and could give it right back! (my kinda girl:) “All About Eve” (1950) showcases Ms. Davis in all her glory. Love her, or hate her, there’ll never be another one like her! My post “If it’s Sunday Breakout the Hankies” pays tribute to Ms. Davis and her outstanding film career.

 

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(Miss Joan Crawford was one of her fiercest rivals)

 

“All About Eve” is a 1950 American drama film written and directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, and produced by Darryl F. Zanuck. It was based on the 1946 short story “The Wisdom of Eve” by Mary Orr, although screen credit was not given for it. (Wikipedia)

 

The film stars Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a highly regarded but aging Broadway star. Anne Baxter plays Eve Harrington, an ambitious young fan who insinuates herself into Channing’s life, ultimately threatening Channing’s career and her personal relationships. George Sanders, Celeste Holm, Hugh Marlowe, Barbara Bates, Gary Merrill, and Thelma Ritter also appear, and the film provided one of Marilyn Monroe‘s earliest important roles.

 

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Eve (Anne Baxter) Miss Casswell (Marilyn Monroe bottom center) Margo Channing (Bette Davis)

 

Praised by critics at the time of its release, “All About Eve” received 14 Academy Awards nominations (a feat only matched by the 1997 film “Titanic” and the 2016 film “La La Land”) and won six, including Best Picture. All About Eve is the only film in Oscar history to receive four female acting nominations (Davis and Baxter as Best Actress, Holm, and Ritter as Best Supporting Actress).

 

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“Titanic”, “All About Eve”, “La La Land”

 

This classic was selected in 1990 for preservation in the United States National Film Registry and was among the first 50 films to be registered. “All About Eve” appeared at #16 on AFI‘s 1998 list of the 100 best American films. (Wikipedia)

 

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A back screen documentary on “All About Eve.”

 

“All About Eve” is one big screen classic not to be missed! So, grab your tickets, a bag of popcorn, and “buckle your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night!”

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See you at the Movies!

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Khan Noonien Singh – 50th Anniversary of “Space Seed”

 

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Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before.

 

 

This week we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of my favorite Star Trek episode, “Space Seed”  (Season 1, Episode 22) with Ricardo Montalbán as Khan Noonien Singh.

 

Broadcast on February 16, 1967, the storyline was written by Gene L. Coon and Carey Wilber, and directed by Marc Daniels. The plot explored the concept of Eugenics,”super-intelligence and the result of creating a group of “super people” (from Earth’s past) bred to conquer the world. 

 

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The subsequent 1982 film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan was a brilliant sequel to “Space Seed” as we find out what subsequently happened to Khan and his people on the planet to which Kirk banished them.

 

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The film ratcheted up the intensity of the television episode proving to be a full-out sci-fi thriller which I give two, very enthusiast, thumbs up!👍🏼👍🏼

 

 

Khan: To the last, I grapple with thee. From hell’s heart, I stab at thee. For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee. 

 

 

Wow, what a statement! In 1966, an authentic representation of an international crew. Radical stuff which showed the brilliance and social awareness of creator, the late Gene Roddenberry.

 

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Set in the 23rd century, the series would evolve to follow the adventures of Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew who were charged with solving intergalactic conflicts without interfering in the planet’s culture. This vehicle was Gene Roddenberry’s method of initiating dialogue around controversial human and sometimes not so human, issues such as racism, technology, war.

 

(Front to back – William Shatner (center) DeForrest Kelly (L) Leonard Nimoy (R) James Doohan (back L), Walter Koenig, Majel Barrett, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei)

I’ve always been of the mind that art is revolutionary. The great Renaissance masters like DaVinci, and Michelangelo, were considered subversives in their time. They had to hide their political messages inside their remarkable works to keep from being prosecuted. In his way, Gene Roddenberry could be considered a “Renaissance Man”.

 

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(August 19, 1921 – October 24, 1991)

Roddenberry had a vision that we can co-exist in a multicultural, multinational world and, as an eleven-year-old black girl from the east side of Detroit, I was right there with him. I had the same dreams and beliefs for my future.

 

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The series was produced from September 1966–December 1967 by Norway Productions and Desilu Productions, and by Paramount Television from January 1968–June 1969. Star Trek aired on NBC from September 8, 1966, to June 3, 1969, and was actually seen first on September 6, 1966, on Canada’s CTVnetwork.

 

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“Trouble with Tribbles”

Star Treks Nielsen ratings while on NBC were low, and the network canceled the show after three seasons and 79 episodes. Several years later, the series became a bona fide hit in broadcast syndication, remaining so throughout the 1970s, achieving cult classic status and a developing influence on popular culture.

 

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Star Trek eventually spawned a franchise, consisting of five additional television series, thirteen feature films, numerous books, games, toys, and is now widely considered one of the most popular and influential television series of all time. (Wikipedia)

 

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Live Long and Prosper

Women of Strength – Zora Neale Hurston

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African American Women Filmmakers

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston

(January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960)

Better known for her work as a novelist, Zora Neale Hurston could be, according to an essay by academic Gloria Gibson, the first African-American woman filmmaker. The film footage, which includes Children’s Games (1928), Logging (1928), and Baptism (1929), appears to be from her work as a student of anthropology under the guidance of famed anthropologist, professor, and mentor, Dr. Franz Boas of Columbia University. (Wikipedia)

A graduate of Barnard College (B.A. in anthropology in 1928) and a Guggenheim fellow, Hurston traveled back to a South similar to her hometown of Eatonville, Florida (one of the first all-black towns to be incorporated in the United States) to capture a variety of short takes of African-American life. Ethnographic in nature, the films reflect a focus of folklorists of that time period who believed that “…cultural performance and beliefs must be expeditiously collected and documented because they would soon be gone forever” (Gloria Gibson).

Hurston authored four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

In addition to new editions of her work being published after a revival of interest in her in 1975, her manuscript Every Tongue Got to Confess (2001), a collection of folktales gathered in the 1920s, was published posthumously after being discovered in the Smithsonian archives.

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During a period of financial and medical difficulties, Hurston was forced to enter St. Lucie County Welfare Home, where she suffered a stroke. She died of hypertensive heart disease on January 28, 1960, and was buried at the Garden of Heavenly Rest in Fort Pierce, Florida. Sadly, her remains were in an unmarked grave until 1973 when novelist Alice Walker and literary scholar Charlotte Hunt found an unmarked grave in the general area where Hurston had been buried and decided to mark it as hers. (Wikipedia)

Zora Neale Hurston

Shining Star of “Women of Strength.”

 

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Ethel Waters – Forgotten Star ✨

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Ethel Waters (October 31, 1896 – September 1, 1977)

Ethel Waters was American blues, jazz and gospel singer, and actress. Her best-known recordings include “Dinah,” “Stormy Weather,” “Taking a Chance on Love,” “Heat Wave,” “Supper Time,” “Am I Blue?” and “Cabin in the Sky,” as well as her version of the spiritual “His Eye Is on the Sparrow.”

Waters was the second African American, after Hattie McDaniel, to be nominated for an Academy Award. She was also the first African-American woman to be nominated for an Emmy Award, in 1962. (Wikipedia)

 

 

Waters was born in Chester, Pennsylvania, on October 31, 1896, and by the age of 17 was singing professionally in Baltimore. It was there that she became the first woman to sing “St. Louis Blues” on the stage. In 1925 she appeared at the Plantation Club in Harlem, and her performance there led to Broadway. In 1927 she appeared in an all-black revue Africana. Thereafter she divided her time between the stage, nightclubs, and eventually movies. (Wikipedia)

Ms. Waters had a troubled childhood. Born as the result of rape, she was raised in poverty and never lived in the same place for more than 15 months. Waters said of her difficult upbringing, “I never was a child. I never was cuddled, or liked, or understood by my family.”

 

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After her start in Baltimore, Waters toured on the black vaudeville circuit. As she described it later, “I used to work from nine until unconscious.” Despite her early success, she fell on hard times and joined a carnival, traveling in freight cars along the carnival circuit and eventually reaching Chicago.

Around 1919, Waters moved to Harlem and there became a celebrity performer in the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s. In 1921, women blues singers were among the most powerful entertainers in the country and Waters became the fifth black woman to make a record, on the tiny Cardinal Records label.

 

 

As her career continued, she evolved into a blues and Broadway singer, performing with artists such as Duke Ellington and starring at the Cotton Club.

She had a featured role in the wildly successful Irving Berlin Broadway musical revue As Thousands Cheer in 1933, in which she was the first black woman in an otherwise white show. She had three gigs at this point; in addition to the show, she starred in a national radio program and continued to work in nightclubs. (Wikipedia)

 

Ms. Waters was the highest-paid performer on Broadway starring as Petunia in the all-black musical Cabin in the Sky. In 1942 Ms. Waters reprised her stage role of 1940 in the film, directed by Vincente Minnelli; it was a huge success.

 

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Adding to her list of accomplishments, Ms. Waters was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for the controversial film “Pinky (1949) about a light-skinned black woman passing for white; directed by Elia Kazan.

In 1950, she won the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for her performance opposite Julie Harris in the play The Member of the Wedding. Waters and Harris reprised their roles in the 1952 film version, Member of the Wedding.

 

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Ethel Waters, Julie Harris

 

In 1950, Waters starred in the television series Beulah, becoming the first African-American actress to have a lead role in a television series. However, she quit after complaining that the portrayal of blacks was “degrading.” She later guest-starred in 1957 and 1959 on NBC’s The Ford Show, Starring Tennessee Ernie Ford. In the 1957 episode, she sang “Cabin in the Sky”. (Wikipedia)

Despite her earlier successes, by the 1950’s Ms. Waters remarkable career was fading. As her health suffered, she worked only sporadically. In 1950–51 she wrote her autobiography His Eye Is on the Sparrow with Charles Samuels, in which she wrote candidly about her life.

 

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His Eye Is on the Sparrow was adapted for a stage production in which she was portrayed by Ernestine Jackson. Her second autobiography was titled – To Me, It’s Wonderful.

American feminist and jazz historian Rosetta Reitz called Waters “a natural … [Her] songs are enriching, nourishing. You will want to play them over and over again, idling in their warmth and swing. Though many of them are more than 50 years old, the music and the feeling are still there.”

 

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“His Eye is on the Sparrow”

 

 

Black History and Hollywood 🎇

Black History Month

 

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 Both the Oscars and Black History Month are recognized in February which gives me the perfect opportunity to celebrate the accomplishments of Black Artists in Hollywood.

 

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2015 and 2016 were standout years for the lack of Black filmmakers nominated for Oscars. However, 2017 breaks that record and will make African-American Oscar nominee history.

 

Hidden Figures

Janelle Monae, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer “Hidden Figures” (2016)

1. “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins, 37, is the first African-American filmmaker to be nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.

2. “Fences” star Viola Davis, 51, is the first Black actress to be nominated for an Oscar three times (Doubt in 2009, The Help in 2012) with her Best Supporting Actress nod.

3. “Arrival” cinematographer Bradford Young, 39, is the first African-American to be nominated for the Best Cinematography award. (Young is the second Black man; British cinematographer Remi Adefarasin was nominated for Elizabeth in 1998.)

Moonlight 2016

Moonlight

4. A Black actor is nominated in all four acting categories for the first time in history:

Denzel Washington, Best Actor, “Fences”

Ruth Negga, Best Actress, “Loving”

Mahershala Ali, Best Supporting Actor, “Moonlight”

Octavia Spencer, Best Supporting Actress, “Hidden Figures”

Viola Davis, Best Supporting Actress, “Fences”

Naomie Harris, Best Supporting Actress, “Moonlight”

 

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5. This is the first time that six African-American actors and actresses have been nominated in total. (The previous record was five in 2005 and 2007.)

6. “Moonlight” editor Joi McMillon is the first Black woman to be nominated for film editing.

7. This is the first time that three Black people have been nominated within a single category (Best Supporting Actress, in this case):

Viola Davis in Fences, Naomie Harris in Moonlight, and Octavia Spencer in Hidden Figures. (Carolyn L. Todd)

 

Let’s keep up the good work Oscars!

 

 

History

The 12th Academy Awards is historic for being the 1st Oscar nomination for an African-American and 1st Oscar win. In 1940, Hattie McDaniel accepted the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in “Gone With the Wind” for the character – Mammy.

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Hattie McDaniel

However, if David O. Selznick (Producer, film studio executive) hadn’t pulled a favor, she might not have been able to deliver her acceptance speech at all. At the time, the Cocoanut Grove nightclub (located in the Ambassador Hotel) was segregated so Ms. McDaniel wasn’t even allowed entrance. Selznick pulled another favor so she could be seated at a table at the very back of the room with her agent. To add insult to injury, Hattie McDaniel wasn’t allowed to speak her own words, the acceptance speech was written by the studio.

Despite all the prejudice, Hattie McDaniel – who at the time was one of the biggest African-American actors in the world -promoted herself for the nomination. After the release of the movie, she placed a stack of outstanding film reviews on O. Selznick’s desk and the rest is history. (Wikipedia)

 

First Best Actress Oscar 

In 2002, Halle Berry became the 1st (and to date) only African-American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress. The Oscar was for the film “Monsters Ball”.

 

Halle Berry 2002 Best Actress

Halle Berry 2002 Best Actress

Dorothy Dandridge – (November 9, 1922 – September 8, 1965) is the 1st African-American actress to be nominated for a Best Actress Oscar in 1954 for her performance in “Carmen Jones.” She has been recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was married to dancer Harold Nicholas. Check out my previous post on the Nicholas Brothers here.

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Dorothy Dandridge

Halle Berry portrayed her life in the HBO biographical film “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” in 1999.

 

Halle_Berry Introducing Dorothy Dandridge

 

 

Watching Halle’s acceptance speech again while researching this post, I burst into tears reliving her emotion as she tries to process the win and the historical significance of this moment. Looking forward to the acceptance speech of our second Best Actress Oscar Winner.

 

Halle and Denzel Oscars

Halle and Denzel Oscars

This win also marked the 1st time two African-American performers won in leading role Oscars in the same year (Denzel Washington, Training Day).

 

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Best Supporting Actress

First to Win: Hattie McDaniel “Gone With the Wind” 1940

Hattie McDaniel 1940 Oscars

Although known as an actress she was a professional singer-songwriter, comedian, stage actress, radio performer, and television star; she was the first black woman to sing on the radio in the U.S. and has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1975, she was inducted into the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame and in 2006 became the first black Oscar winner honored with a US postage stamp.

  • Hattie McDaniel was also the oldest African-American actress to win an Academy Award (age 44).

 

  Finally – 50 Years later the 2nd Winner!

 

Winner: Supporting Actress – Whoopi Goldberg “Ghost” 1990

 

  • First African-American actress to receive two acting nominations overall.

  • Second African-American actress to win Best Supporting Actress.

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Whoopi Goldberg 1990 Best Supporting Actress

 

 Winner: Supporting Actress – Jennifer Hudson “Dreamgirls” 2006

 

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Jennifer Hudson 2006 Supporting Actress Oscar

  •  First African-American actor (male or female) to win an Academy Award for a debut film performance.

  • Youngest African-American actress to win or be nominated for Best Supporting Actress.

  • Youngest African-American actor (male or female) to win an Academy Award (age 25).

  • First African-American actress to win an Academy Award for a musical film.

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Oldest African-American actress to be nominated for an Academy Award (age 83) – Ruby Dee “American Gangster” 2007.

 

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Ruby Dee

For her life and career see my previous post here:

Ruby Dee

 

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  Winner: Supporting Actress – Mo’Nique “Precious” 2009

Mo'Nique

Mo’Nique

  • The second film to feature African-American nominees for both Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress.

Octavia Spencer

Octavia Spencer

Winner: Supporting Actress – Octavia Spencer

“The Help” 2011

  • The third film to feature African-American nominees for both Best Actress and Supporting Actress.

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Winner: Supporting Actress – Lupita Nyong’o 

“12 Years a Slave” 2013

  • First black African (Kenyan) actress to be nominated.

  • First black African to win in any category.

  • Second black actor to win for a debut performance.

 

  Congratulations and Cheers to these exceptional artists!

 

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We’ve come a long way, but we’ve still got a long way to go.