Saturday, January 21, 2023

"I Need You" by America

Today I am feeling a bit blue, and when I am a bit blue, sad songs will get stuck in my head. Today it is "I Need You" by America. I can't say I identify with the song (well, maybe the first stanza and the chorus), but it certainly fits the way I feel today.

Friday, January 20, 2023

Quinn Redeker R.I.P.

Quinn Redeker, who had regular roles on the show Dan Raven and the soap operas Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless, died on December 20 2022 at the age of 86. He also wrote the original story  for The Deer Hunter (1978) with Lou Garfield.

Quinn Redeker was born on May 2 1936 in Woodstock, Illinois. He grew up in Seattle, Washington and Queen Anne High School. He began his career as a stand-up comic and studied acting under Sandy Meisner. He made his television debut in a guest appearance on Lock Up in 1959. The following year he guest starred on Sea Hunt and began playing magazine photographer Perry Levitt in the short-lived police drama Dan Raven.

In the Sixties he guest starred on the TV shows The Virginian, Alcoa Premiere, Wide Country, Laramie, Bonanza, The Third Man, The Loner, The Jean Arthur Show, The Hero, Run for Your Life, That Girl, Mannix, Ironside, The Outsider, Mayberry R.F.D., Here Come the Brides, and The Most Deadly Game. He made his film debut in an uncredited role in The Marriage-Go-Round in 1961. He appeared in the movies The Three Stooges Meet Hercules (1962), Spider Baby or, the Maddest Story Ever Told (1967), Airport (1970), and The Christine Jorgensen Story (1970).

In the Seventies Quinn Redeker guest starred on the television shows Adam-12, The F.B.I., The New Perry Mason, The Magician, Toma, Get Christie Love!, Marcus Welby M.D., The Bob Newhart Show, Kojak, Harry O, Cannon,The Practice, Gemini Man, Police Story, The Rockford Files, The Six Million Dollar Man, Barnaby Jones, and Starsky and Hutch. He appeared in the mini-series The Law and in 1979 began playing the regular role of Alex Marshall on Days of Our Lives and the regular roles of Rex Sterling on The Young and the Restless. He appeared in the movies The Andromeda Strain (1971), The Candidate (1972), The Limit (1972), The Slams (1973), The Midnight Man (1974), At Long Last Love (1975), Rollercoaster (1977), The Electric Horseman (1979), Where the Buffalo Roam (1980), Ordinary People (1980), and Coast to Coast (1980).

In the Eighties he continued to appear on Days of Our Lives and The Young and the Restless. He guest starred on the TV shows Fantasy Island and Scarecrow and Mrs. King. In the Nineties Quinn Redeker continued to appear on The Young and the Restless. He guest starred on the TV shows Godparents and The Michael Richards Show. He appeared in the movie Warpath (2000).

In the Naughts he guest starred on CSI: Miami He appeared in the movies An American Reunion (2003), Sweet Deadly Dreams (2006), For Heaven's Sake (2008), and The Confessional (2009). In the Teens he appeared in the movie Big Miracle (2012). He guest starred on the show Harry's Law.

Thursday, January 19, 2023

David Crosby Passes On

David Crosby, best known for his work with The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash, died today, January 19 2023, at the age of 81.

David Crosby was born on August 14 1941 in Los Angeles. His father was cinematographer Floyd Crosby, who had worked on such films as High Noon (1952) and House of Usher (1960). David Crosby briefly attended Santa Barbara City College before he left the school to pursue a career in music. For a brief time he performed as part of a duo with soul, folk, and jazz performer Terry Callier in both Chicago and New York City. Around 1962 he performed with the folk group Les Baxter's Balladeers.

It was in 1964 that David Crosby met folksingers Jim McGuinn (later taking the name "Roger") and Gene Clark. Mr. McGuinn had worked with The Limelighters and The Chad Mitchell Trio. Gene Clark had worked with The New Christy Minstrels. The three formed under the name The Jet Set and had their first recording sessions under that name. Bassist Chris Hillman and drummer Michael Clarke joined the group later in the year. As The Beefeaters they recorded the song "Please Let Me Love You" on Elektra Records. The single flopped.

The Jet Set singed a recording contract with Columbia Records in November 1964. It was shortly thereafter that they renamed themselves "The Byrds." Their first single, a cover of Bob Dylan's "Mr. Tambourine Man," went to no. 1 on both the Billboard Hot 100 and the UK singles chart. Their first album, Mr. Tambourine Man, went to no. 6 on the Billboard album chart. The Byrds proved to be very successful, with such hit songs as "Turn! Turn! Turn!," "Eight Miles High," and "Mr. Spaceman." Unfortunately, David Crosby and the other Byrds did not always get along. Tension between David Crosby and the other Byrds came to a head while recording The Notorious Byrd Brothers, and it was in October 1967 that he was fired from the band.

It was about the time that David Crosby was fired from The Byrds that he met Stephen Stills, the former guitarist of Buffalo Springfield. The two began playing together. They were eventually joined by Graham Nash, who had decided to leave The Hollies. The trio formed Crosby, Stills & Nash and were soon recording for Atlantic Records. Their self-titled debut album was released in May 1969 and produced the hits "Marakesh Express" and "Suite Judy Blue Eyes." They would be joined by Neil Young, another former member of Buffalo Springfield, and released their first album as Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, Déjà Vu in March 1970. It produced the hits  "Woodstock", "Teach Your Children", and "Our House."

Following Déjà Vu, releases from Crosby, Stills & Nash could be years apart. CSN would not be released until 1977. Daylight Again would not come out until 1982. Neil Young rejoined the band for Crosby, Stills & Nash's 1988 album American Dream. Ultimately, they released eight albums in total.

In between David Crosby and Graham Nash recorded as a duo, releasing the albums Graham Nash David Crosby in 1972, Wind on the Water in 1975, Whistling Down the Wire in 1976, and Crosby & Nash in 2004. David Crosby also released his own solo albums, the first being If Only I Could Remember My Name in 1972. It was followed by seven more solo albums. His last studio solo album was For Free, released in 2021.

He also recorded with the band CPR, also known as s Crosby, Pevar & Raymond, a jazz rock fusion band formed with session guitarist Jeff Pevar and David Crosby's son keyboardist James Raymond. They released four albums from 1998 to 2001.

David Crosby also had an acting career. He guest starred on such shows as Shannon's Deal, Roseanne, Flying Bird, The Simpsons, The John Laroquette Show, Ellen, and Chicago Hope. He appeared in the movies Backdraft (1991), Hook (1991), To Cross the Rubicon (1991), and Thunderheart (1992).

David Crosby was an exceptional singer and there can be no doubt that his voice was responsible in part for the success of both The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash. His voice had a fairly good range, and it was well suited to the harmonies for which The Byrds and Crosby, Stills & Nash were known. At the same time he was a very good stylist, able to change his voice to suit the song. David Crosby was a rock legend with good reason.

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

My Six Favourite Cary Grant Movies

Cary Grant was born today in 1904, so I thought today I would list my six favourite movies he ever did. Here I must point out that this list is not definitive. Except for North by Northwest and Arsenic and Old Lace it is very much subject to change. Cary Grant appeared in so many great films throughout his career that it is hard for me to make my mind as to which ones I like the best. Anyway, here is my list of six of my favourite Cary Grant films (at least for now).

1.  North By Northwest (1959): This is not only my favourite Cary Grant film, but also my favourite Alfred Hitchcock film and one of my favourite movies of all time. Cary Grant is perfectly cast as Madison Avenue executive Roger Thornhill, who is mistaken by enemy agents for a spy who doesn't even exist. It is fun, action-packed, and the chemistry between Cary Grant and Eva Marie Saint is palpable. I have to think that North By Northwest may have spurred the spy craze that began in the United Kingdom with the TV shows Danger Man and The Avengers and spread to the United States through the James Bond movies. It certainly had an impact on the spy shows of the Sixties, particularly The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

2. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944): For me Arsenic and Old Lace is the perfect Halloween film. Mortimer Brewster (Cary Grant) returns to his childhood home with his new bride (Priscilla Lane) on Halloween only to discover his maiden aunts' (Josephine Hull and Jean Adair) dark secret. Worse yet, his brother Jonathan (Raymond Massey), a well-known serial killer, shows up with his plastic surgeon (Peter Lorre). No, it isn't a horror movie (although it has a few scares), but an at times sweet natured black comedy. It is uproariously funny and very well acted.

3. The Awful Truth (1937):
I think Cary Grant may have been at his best in screwball comedies, and The Awful Truth is a prime example of the genre. A misunderstanding between Lucy Warriner (Irene Dunne) and Jerry Warriner (Cary Grant) results in divorce proceedings. As it turns out Lucy and Jerry discovered that staying apart isn't as easy as they though it was. The Awful Truth is hilarious, and features several moments that push the boundaries of the overly strict Production Code of the time. Cary Grant and Irene Dunne are wonderful together, and Irene Dunne remains my favourite of Cary Grant's leading ladies. They would appear together gain in by My Favourite Wife (1940) and Penny Serenade (1941).

4, The Bishop's Wife (1947):
I think it is safe to say that the majority of classic film fans count The Bishop's Wife among the greatest Christmas movies of all time. It certainly has an excellent cast, including David Niven as Bishop Henry Brougham, Loretta Young as his wife Julia, and Cary Grant as Dudley, the angel sent to offer Henry guidance. The cast is filled out by Monty Woolley as Henry and Julia's friend Professor Wutheridge and Elsa Lancaster as their housekeeper Mathilda. The Bishop's Wife and warm without being too maudlin, altogether an inspiring movie.

5. Bringing Up Baby (1938):
This is among the greatest screwball comedies ever made. Mix in Cary Grant as a palaeontologist, Katharine Hepburn as the extremely free-spirited Susan Vance, and a leopard named Baby, and you have Bringing Up Baby. Even for the genre, Bringing Up Baby is fast paced and one might not catch all of them in one viewing. Even today the movie seems amazingly fresh.

6. The Philadelphia Story (1940): The Philadelphia Story is often called a romantic comedy, but I think it might be better called a screwball comedy blended with a comedy of manners with a good deal of farce thrown in for good measure. Katharine Hepburn stars as socialite Tracy Samantha Lord, whose wedding plans are snarled up by the arrival of her ex-husband C.K. Dexter Haven (Cary Grant). Matters are complicated further by the arrival of reporter Mike Connor (Jimmy Stewart) and his photographer Liz Imbrie (Ruth Hussey), who are supposed to cover Tracy's wedding. The Philadelphia Story is filled with witty dialogue, some great performances, and truly hilarious situations.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Godspeed Gina Lollobrigida

Gina Lollobrigida, the Italian superstar who appeared in such movies as Beat the Devil (1953) and Trapeze (1956), as well as the TV series Falcon Crest, died on January 16 2023 at the age of 95.

Gina Lollobrigidawas born  Luigia Lollobrigida in Subiaco, Lazio, Italy on July 4 1927. She did modelling in her youth and also participated in a number of beauty pageants. She was third runner-up in the Miss Italia contest in 1947.

Gina Lollobrigidamade her film debut in a bit part in The Black Eagle in 1946. In the late Forties she appeared in such films as Pagliacci (1947), Flesh Will Surrender (1947), Vendetta nel sole (1947), Mad About Opera (1948), Alarm Bells (1949), The Bride Can't Wait (1949), The White Line (1949), A Dog's Life (1950), Miss Itlaia (1950), and Alina (1950).

It was in the Fifties that Gina Lollobrigida became an international star when she appeared in her first American film, Beat the Devil (1953). During the decade she appeared in such films as A Tale of Five Cities (1951), The Young Caruso (1951), Four Ways Out (1951), Love I Haven't...But...But (1951), Attention! Bandits! (1951), Wife for a Night (1952), Times Gone By (1952), Fanfan la Tulipe (1952), Beauties of the Night (1952), The Wayward Wife (1953), Bread, Love and Dreams (1953), Le infedeli (1953), Beat the Devil (1953), Woman of Rome (1954), Bread, Love and Jealousy (1954), Crossed Swords (1954), Le Grand Jeu (1954), The World's Most Beautiful Woman (1955), Trapeze (1956), The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1956), Anna of Brooklyn  (1958), The Law (1959), Never So Few (1959), and Solomon and Sheba (1959).

In the Sixties Gina Lollobrigida appeared in the films Go Naked in the World (1961), Come September (1961), La bellezza di Ippolita (1962), Venere Imperiale (1963), Mad Sea (1963), Woman of Straw (1964), Me, Me, Me...and the Others (1965), Le Bambole (1965), Strange Bedfellows (1965), Pleasant Nights (1966), The Sultans (1966), Hotel Paradiso (1966), Cervantes (1967), Stuntman (1968), Death Laid an Egg (1968), The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell (1968), Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell (1968), and That Splendid November (1969).

In the Seventies Miss Lollobrigida appeared in the films Bad Man's River (1971), King, Queen, Knave (1972), and No encontré rosas para mi madre (1973). In 1972 she appeared in the Italian mini-series The Adventures of Pinocchio as the Fairy with Turquoise Hair (more commonly referred to In English as "The Blue Fairy"). It was during the Seventies that Gina Lollobrigida began her career as a photojournalist. She photographed such celebrities as Salvador Dali, Ella Fitzgerald, Audrey Hepburn, and Paul Newman. She even managed to get an interview with Fidel Castro, then Communist leader of Cuba.

In the Eighties Gina Lollobrigda had a recurring role on the American TV show Falcon Crest. She appeared in the mini-series Deceptions and Woman of Rome. She guest starred on the TV show Love Boat. In 1996 she appeared in the TV movie Una donna in fuga and the movie XXL (1997). She retired from acting in 1997.

Gina Lollobrigida published four books: Italia Mia (1973), The Philippines (1976), Wonder of Innocence (1994), and Sculptures (2004). For much of her life she also pursued sculpting.

Gina Lollobrigida told Parade in 2000, "I studied painting and sculpting at school and became an actress by mistake." Nonetheless, she was a great actress. She was superb as the wife of Billy Dannreuther (Humphrey Bogart), Maria, in Beat the Devil. She also gave a good performance as Esmeralda in the 1956 version of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. She was also very good as personal nurse and a millionaire's widow falsely accused of murder in Woman of Straw. Her best performance may have been as the Mrs. Campbell of the title of the film Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell. She was excellent as a woman who is uncertain of her daughter. She gave a fine performance on the TV show Falcon Crest, playing lead character Angela Channing's (Jane Wyman) Italian half-sister who visit with a clam to the Falcon Crest vineyards. Gina Lollobrigida always gave good performances, whether it was on film or in television.