Archive for Hollywood

A Tribute to Peter Cushing

Posted in Entertainment, Movies and Theatre with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by urbannight

Peter Cushing as Grand Moff Tarkin

 

I still have Peter Cushing on the brain. 

If you claim to be a fan of horror movies in general, or a fan of vampire movies, and you do not know who Peter Cushing is, I may have to call you a Poser.

This British actor, born in 1913, should rank up there with Bela Lugosi in name recognition.  Horror and Vampires owe as much to him and Christopher Lee as they to do Bela. 

Having an aunt who was an actress inspired his own acting dreams and he did amateur theater while also going to drama school. 

He continued to perform and decided to give Hollywood a try in 1939 when he landed a part in Man in the Iron Mask (good film, haven’t seen it in years) that same year.   But Hollywood wasn’t his style and he did a bit of acting  in Canada and on Broadway and returned to England to entertain the troops during WWII. 

He had the opportunity to perform Hamlet with Laurence Olivier and Christopher Lee was there in a bit part.  He and Lee also had the opportunity to do Moulin Rouge together as well. 

He is a perfect example of the British entertainment industry, where actors perform in film, on stage, and for television and he became a very familiar face on British television sets.  In fact, he was so well-known on t.v. that a comedian once called a television set “Peter Cushing with Knobs”.  (IMDB)

Near the end of the 1950’s, Hammer Film’s started to remake all the old horror films from the 30’s.  People saying we are in the decade of the Remake/Reboot are failing to notice that every decade does this.  They usually draw on material from 20 to 30 years prior.  What is unusual now is that they are currently drawing on material that isn’t actually all that old.

The Cushing and Lee names eventually became synonymous with Van Helsing and Dracula, at least to American viewers and apparently became best friends for life.  Cushing thought it odd that people would look at him and see a monster, he never actually played a monster.  He was occasionally the creator or a monster, Such as Baron Frankenstein, but often the man who killed the monsters, such as Van Helsing and Sherlock Holmes, who proved monsters were just humans with a bit of unusual knowledge.   It was Lee who often played the monster. 

For 20 years, Cushing performed in primarily horror programs.  During this time, although he did two films as The Doctor, he was actually the first choice for the original doctor.  I have not yet found out why that didn’t happen.  Of course, his most notable exception was Star Wars, as Grand Moff Tarkin. It is interesting to note that as many people working on Star Wars expected it to fail, Cushing actually thought kids would really like it. 

After his wife died, he seemed to have lost a lot of his will and didn’t perform as much.  His Star Wars performance was one of the few things he really did after her death.  He did do a few other bits and peices, but nothing as well know.

One of my favorite quotes by him is “You have to have a sense humor to be alive. Or a bit mad.  It helps to be mad.”  Of course, I’ve discovered that this isn’t the accurate quote.  It should be “You have to have a sense of humor, darling, to be alive.  Even a bit mad.  It helps to be mad”. (1991)

I found information on a variety of sites, I think I want to pick up either one of his autobiographies.  Most of the information seemed identical to IMDB or Wiki.  I’m not sure if wiki was based on the others or the other’s were just regurgitating Wiki.  So I primarily used IMDB for the timeline to organize the information I knew and filled in a few bits from Wiki.  Since most of what I know came from various t.v interviews and overviews over a lot of years, I couldn’t even begin to remember which programs my knowledge originally came from.  It probably came from PBS, A & E, and random stations running themed marathons where they talk about the people in the movies between showing the movies.

Hollywood Hypocrisy

Posted in Entertainment, Life with tags , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by urbannight

I normally have nothing to say about Hollywood types.  Only rarely will I feel the need to share my thoughts on Hollywood drama.  But a headline I saw last night really annoyed me.

Mary Kate, at age 25, is dating the 42 year old Olivier Sarkozy.  People seem to be upset by this.  The headline says she has a father-complex and that is why she is dating someone 17 years older than her.

This has me confused.  A great number of Hollywood women, models, and music types in their 20’s have married other industry types in their 50’s.  No one comments on it.  No one thinks it unusual.

But Mary Kate, who has had a few issues and troubled times, must have psychological issues about her father if she is dating someone in his 40’s.  This logic fails me.

Here is a link to a photo gallery of over 40 ‘May-December Romances’ from NYDailyNews.  Some seem to be just dates (Alec Baldwin) and may not be an actual relationship.  Many are longer relationships and marriages (Prince Albert of Monaco and Charlene Whittstock).  Some you get the idea what they are really about [Doug Hutchison and Courtney Stodden (does she really look like a country star???)

No one is crying “Daddy Issues” at them.

One American’s view of a British attitude from an American who watches British programing and reads British authors.

Posted in Entertainment, Life, Movies and Theatre, Politics, Uncategorized, Writing with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 6, 2012 by urbannight

Some writer wrote an article criticizing the journalist that was saved from walking in front of  oncoming traffic by a Hollywood star.  She had a moment of, “Wow, I was just saved by someone famous”, and then she was over it.

What the writer seems to be missing is that the person involved is a Brit.  That is far more important to this woman’s attitude than the fact that she is a feminist journalist.

The Brits have a different attitude towards actors in general.  British actors are not idolized and put on a pedestal by the British public in the same way that it happens in the United States.  They don’t really get all the hupla about them that happens over on this side of the pond. 

I have some friends who attribute the American attitude towards ‘stars’ to the fact that we don’t have royalty.  Because of this, people in the early days of Hollywood started raising popular or handsome/beautiful stars to iconic levels. 

I’m not really sure if I agree with the theory or not.  I think it is more likely the way the film industry developed differently in the U.S. and in Britain.  In this country, Hollywood became more important than Broadway.  But in Britain, live theatre still seems to be a higher calling.  T.V. is more like what stage actors do between productions.  The last season where David Tennant was the Doctor was changed from a full season to a series of specials to accommodate some work theatre he wanted to do.  (If I remember the articles I read back then correctly.)

While they still have teenagers (and sometimes adults) going all dreamy over stars, they don’t elevate them in the same manner.  The woman is pointing out the fact that if the person who stopped her wasn’t a star, he wouldn’t have gotten all this attention. 

Why is the fact that a star stopped a woman from walking in front of a car so much more important that if anyone else performed the same action?  This really is a good question we should be asking ourselves.