Love, Gilda

Like many comics before her, and after, Gilda Radner was looking for love. Born in Detroit to a middle-class family, her father whom she loved dearly died when she was fourteen. Chubby as a child, the film states her mother, a beautiful looking woman, forced Gilda to take diet pills and repeatedly stressed the importance of being thin. Gilda, feeling unattractive found out she was funny and discovered people liked funny people.

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Love, Gilda is filled with archival footage from her days at Second City, National Lampoon and Saturday Night Live. This footage alone makes the film worth watching. We get insight into her inspiration for some of her famous characters like Rosanne Rosannadana. Home movies, archival film and behind the scene film along with plenty of still photos, both professional and personal, as well as her contemporaries add to her story.

Directed by Lisa D’Apolito, Love, Gilda is a charming, concise,and straight forwar documentary about her career and her search for love which she finally found with her second marriage to actor Gene Wilder. Sadly, ovarian cancer would take her life far too early.

On a personal note, a few years ago when this project was in its infancy I received an email, it may have been from D’Apolito or an associate I don’t remember, that they saw a photograph I took of Gilda back in the late 1970’s around the time of the release of her new LP, Gilda Radner – Live From New York. It was taken at Saks 5th Avenue when Gilda was signing autograph copies of the LP. I shot a series of photos while she engaged with her fans. The filmmakers wanted to use the photograph in the documentary and would add my name to the credits. I agreed. Unfortunately, for me at least, I learned via another email that the Radner estate did not want to use the photograph. I’m not sure why, but my photo was out.

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That said, Love, Gilda has nothing groundbreaking, the film is done in a traditional linear style, but D’Apolito and her crew provide an excellent sense of affection and love for its subject. They truly love Gilda.

 

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Bitter Ends – My New Collection of Short Stories Now @ Amazon

The eBook version of Bitter Ends, my new collection of short stories is now available on Amazon. 20 short stories of murder and mayhem along with a couple of more charming tales tossed in – all with a twist. A paperback version will follow later this month.bitter ends2-009

Merry Christmas and Peace to All

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and peace on earth for all.

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Redemption and Remember the Night

TCM will be showing Remember the Night on Saturday December 22nd at 8PM ET. This article was originally posted in 2014.

remember-the-nightBarbara Stanwyck was always at her best when her character came from the wrong side of the tracks. She seemed to have a natural affinity for those whose lives have mostly been filled with hard times, scrapping by the best way they can. Maybe, it had to do with her sad Brooklyn upbringing, her mother dying when she was four, pushed from a streetcar by a drunk, and her father leaving only weeks later, never heard from again. That kind of pain has to leave an indelible mark on one for life. Yet, beneath the tough exterior would hide a gentle desirous heart longing for acceptance and love that would eventually reveal itself. This double side of Stanwyck’s persona is clearly on display in many of her films including this 1940 holiday comedy/drama.

Fred MacMurray is prosecuting Assistant District Attorney, John Sargent.  He arranges through a legal technicality, to have Lee Leander’s (Barbara Stanwyck) trial for shoplifting postponed until after the holidays. This gesture results in Lee, unable to post bail, having to spend the long holiday week in a jail cell. Sargent, in a twinge of guilt, or holiday spirit, arranges through a shady bondsman to have Lee’s five thousand dollars bail paid. When the bondsman delivers Lee to the ADA’s apartment, she is cynical enough, and has no doubt, her payback to him will be in sexual favors. To her surprise, Sargent expects nothing in return. He really just did not want her to spend Christmas in jail. The look of surprise in Lee’s eyes and face is priceless when this realization hits her. Continue reading

Christmas Interlude #8 – Strange Christmas Ads

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Smokin’ Santas, smokin’ guns, smokin’ sex! Have yourself a very strange Christmas. Here are some ads from Christmas past.

Click on the ad to get a larger view.

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Favorite Comedies of The 80’s

In looking back at the 1980’s I was surprised how rich the decade was in comedies. Films that could have made my list but did not include Airplane!, Planes, Trains and Automobiles. The Naked Gun, Tootsie, Spaceballs and Stripes. There are others, but you get the idea. The 80’s included one of the last great romantic comedies along with Woody Allen continuing to produce some great films and the underrated Albert Brooks.

You can find earlier post in this series easily by clicking right here!

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Point Blank (1967)

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John Boorman’s 1967 neo-noir Point Blank is based on the novel, The Hunter, the first of twenty-three hard-boiled paperbacks about a career criminal who goes by the singular name of Parker. The series was written by Richard Stark, one of many pseudonyms used by Donald E. Westlake, one of the all-time great crime fiction writers our time. Westlake’s career spread across novels, screenplay, and television. Several of his many books have made it to the big screen including The Split (1968) The Hot Rock (1972), Cops and Robbers (1973), Bank Shot (1974) and Two Much among others. Westlake’s screenplay credits include The Grifters (2000), adapted from famed pulp fiction writer Jim Thompson novel, and The Stepfather. Two of my own personal favorite works of Westlake books are both standalone novels: The Hook and The Ax. Continue reading