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Sweet Smell of Success – A Scathing Expose

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Burt Lancaster as J.J. Hunsecker in Sweet Smell of Success

June, 1957Sweet Smell of Success has debuted with an eye-opening revelation of the dirty dealing poisonous power of the pen. J.J. Hunsecker, as coldly played by Burt Lancaster, is a New York City tabloid king. A mention in his newspaper column can be a career maker, or the kiss of death.

Directed by Alexander Mackendrick, and powered by the intense performances of Lancaster and Tony Curtis, Sweet Smell of Success clearly displays all the corruption and betrayal one could possibly imagine. Curtis’ performance as press agent, and J.J. Hunsecker wannabe, Sidney Falco gives us a character who desperately, and unethically, seeks his own personal success. Success attained with methods that know no boundary.

Sweet Smell of Success is an intense Film Noir that must be seen in order to understand what really goes on behind the making of tabloid headlines.

Voluptous Jayne Mansfield Takes Hollywood By Storm

Monday, February 17th, 2014

February, 1957 – A new Hollywood sex symbol, Jayne Mansfield, has shot to stardom after her appearance in the rock ‘n’ roll comedy The Girl Can’t Help It. Everyone is taking notice of the sexual appeal of the young actress and with statistics that read 40-19-36 how could they not?

Mansfield’s early success has earned her a co-starring role opposite Tony Randall in the film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

The beautiful Miss Mansfield offers a lot more than just surface beauty though, as she speaks five languages, and is a classically trained pianist and violinist.

It will be interesting to see just how Hollywood and 20th Century Fox plan to use the new starlet and how favorably, or unfavorably, she will compare with the reigning queen of screen sexuality Marilyn Monroe.

Whatever the future holds for Jayne Mansfield, she will surely become one of the most iconic and recognizable blonde bombshells of the 1950’s.

Astaire Delighted By Audrey Hepburn’s ‘Funny Face’

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

March, 1957 – Dance czar Fred Astaire was pleasantly impressed with Funny Face co-star Audrey Hepburn. This was Hepburn’s first screen musical and working with Astaire has her starting right at the top.

Directed by Stanley DonenFunny Face is the Cinderella-like story of Greenwich Village book store salesgirl Jo Stockton (Hepburn) and her transformation into a leading fashion model by photographer Dick Avery (Astaire).

The character of Dick Avery is loosley based on legendary photographer Richard Avedon who designed the opening sequence and was the films consultant. The location shooting in Paris is nothing less than beautiful and the music comes from the great team of George and Ira Gershwin.

Never has a ‘Funny Face’ been so appealing.

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Todd Wed

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013

February, 1957 – Popular actress Elizabeth Taylor has married American theater and film producer Mike Todd in the small Mexican village of Puerto Marquez. Elizabeth had converted to Judiasm for the marriage which is the third for both Taylor and Todd.

Todd, 47, and Taylor, 24, met during the filming of Todd’s production of Around the World in 80 Days which would garner the Best Picture Oscar for 1956. Todd swept Taylor off her feet with the help of a 29.4 carat diamond engagement ring.

Elizabeth Taylor had been married to Michael Wilding just prior to Todd’s proposal when he told the star: “Don’t start looking around for someone to latch on to. You are going to marry only one guy, see, and his name is me.”

The ceremony was beautifully memorable with over 15,000 flowers, a mountain of cavier and enough champagne to float a boat. In attendance were Eddie Fisher (more on him in Liz’s future) who served as best man and Debbie Reynolds who was one of the bridesmaids.

Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Todd will honeymoon in Europe and plan to stop in at the Cannes Film Festival.

Humphrey Bogart – Greatness Passes

Monday, September 9th, 2013

January, 1957Humphrey Bogart who would, in 1999, be named as the Greatest Male Star of All Time by the American Film Institute, has died.

The screen legend, who had been in failing health since the mid-1950’s, suffered from cancer of the esophagus. Having refused to see a doctor about a persistent and increasingly serious cough until January of 1956, the resulting surgery, in March, to remove his esophagus, two lymph nodes, and a rib proved to be too late.

After slipping into a coma, Humphrey Bogart died at his home in Holmby Hills, California, on January, 14th. A simple funeral was held at All Saints Episcopal Church with Bogart’s cremated remains interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Cemetery.

Director John Huston delivered the eulogy during the ceremony attended by many of Hollywood’s biggest stars, including Katharine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper, Errol Flynn, Bette Davis, Judy Garland, Ronald Reagan, David Niven, James Mason, Marlene Dietrich, James Cagney, Gregory Peck, Joan Fontaine, Danny Kaye, Jack Warner, and Billy Wilder.

Buried with the actor was a small, gold whistle that Bogart had given to Lauren Bacall before they were married. The inscription was part of a quote from their first film together, To Have and Have Not: “If you want anything, just whistle.”

Humphrey Bogart’s impact on motion picture history was best stated by John Huston who said: “There will never be another like him.”