Reliving the Classics: Witness for the Prosecution

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Shot in 1957, Witness for the Prosecution, is actor Tyrone Powers last completed film. He plays the lady killer defendant, Leonard Vole, with German bombshell, Marlene Dietrich, acting as his sultry actress/singer wife, Christine Vole, who goes on to testify against him, at his highly sensationalized British murder trial.

The Return of Marlene Dietrich

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Marlene Dietrich rose to fame during silent pictures, then went on to become one of the highest paid actresses of the day.

She was one of the illustrious performers who boosted the morale of American soldiers during the WWII by performing for troops, like many of the notable characters she played, including Christine Vole.

The similarities don’t end there between her life and character, because of ageism, she was the target of the fickle entertainment industry’s ridicule despite her success on stage and screen.

After years of box office success, the public would lose interest in their movies as these great stars aged, and their ticket sale numbers would sharply decline.

Witness to the Prosecution was Marlene Dietrich’s grand return to the big screen after being labeled “Box Office poison” by columnists and critics of the day.

The film received multiple accolades including multiple category nominations and wins at the Academy Awards.

She forever remains known as a great humanitarian, outstanding actress, and morale performer made famous by her dry line delivery, exotic characters, longlasting presence and glamorous iconic style.


Sir Wilfred’s Lament and Sour Disposition Accompany His Convalescence 

Elsa Lanchester, Laughton’s real wife, as his nurse Miss Plimsol. Taken Google Images.

The film begins with the introduction of the famed British barrister, Sir Wilfred, “The Fox”, (played by Charles Laughton), who has just been expelled from his hospital for “conduct unbecoming a cardiac patient”.

He is on his way to return to his office for some light mental stimulation after his long recovery following a heart attack. Returning to the scene of the crime as it were, his office staff has not seen the great man since he was wheeled off.

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To be sure he will not over tire himself, a lift has been installed for his convenience. Sir Wilfred is miserable, cantankerous, and grumpy throughout it all.

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He has had it with the insufferable fussing, the weeping, the napping when really all he wanted was a sniffer of brandy and a good cigar.

Sneaking a cigar. Taken from Google Images.

Before he can get a full grasp of the lift controls, in walks Leonard Vole, who is accompanied by a cigar carrying solicitor. They provide two vices Sir Wilfred cannot do without, a cigar and real criminal case.

Taken from Google Images

After he outwits his sturdy, long suffering nurse Miss Plimsol, (played by his actual wife, Elsa Lanchester), to be alone in his old office with the two, he listens to their rather preposterous tale of woe, over a contraband cigar.

Shaky alibi, healthy inheritance from the wealthy older woman, played by Norma Varden, he had been wooing and charming for weeks, Leonard is the prime suspect in her sudden murder.

Real chemistry from acting duo, husband and wife, Charles Laughton and Elsa Lanchester. Taken from Google Images.

The ultimate courtroom drama that ventures outside the courthouse, unfolds in true English Detective fashion, complete with flashbacks, witty dialogue and unforgettable performances from Hollywood legends.

Enter the German Wife: What is She Up To?

Charles Laughton’s, Sir Wilfred, is hesitant to commit to this new client, he’s in poor health, recovering from a coma and this case seemed somewhat beneath his talents for the demands.

He tries to palm Leonard and his troubled case off on the associate and ponders simply consulting on his case perhaps. Seemed open and shut considering he was the last person with the widow before she was found dead.

There was so much to do, on his first day already, and he was over due for his nap. Leonard’s wife would soon come calling liable to hysterics in his opinion because of her German blood.

He will soon learn Christine Helm Vole is made from sterner stuff than that.

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Enter Christine Vole, as Sir Wilfred prepares for her arrival with some disdain, and she is all together not what one expects.

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The news of Leonard’s arrest will not break her, she informs them cooly, she has come to expect it. Besides all that, Sir Wilfred is known for working with hopeless causes and surely her Leonard falls within those specifications?

He informs her, in no uncertain terms, her alibi for her husband is of little value to the courts. A loving wife is not permitted to give harmful evidence against her husband, and a good wife would say anything to protect him, one assumes, naturally. Why bother with calling her under so much speculation?

She insists on testifying on his behalf.

Sir Wilfred is curious as to what motivates her to go against his better judgment, and force her way onto the witness stand despite her lack of believability and the mountain of circumstantial evidence. He subjects her to the same pupil-light test her husband passed.

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Christine manages to outwit Sir Wilfred’s ocular stress test he employed to determine her credibility by drawing the shade.

She is suspicious her credibility is being questioned because of her German accent rather than her relationship with Leonard. Christine is evasive when asked about their marriage, then bluntly asks for Sir Wilfred’s help in defending Leonard, not a legal crony.

She informs them, rather indirectly when asked, that she will say what Leonard has asked her to say out of gratitude. Which does grow tiresome.

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What on earth did that mean? Would she be able to tell the truth? Did she truly know when her husband came home? The barristers wonder, will she be able to tell what happened? What was this woman about?

“It will be as he said.” Is the closest answer they can get to an affirmative. And with that, she is moved completely off of the defense witness list.

The Star Witness For the Prosecution

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Loving Leonard was a hard won business for Christine. Though he’s a working man of humble means, he’s an inventor with lots of ambition, charming from being a saleman, and just swell with women.

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Doesn’t hurt he’s good with his hands from his work in military service.

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Which is how he met the little German flower that time forgot, Christine Helm, the singer, one night while he was off base on leave.

He’s somewhat distracted by the surroundings and the events of the evening, nearly lit her nose on fire when she chose the gum instead of the cigarette he offered.

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This was after Leonard found her performing with her accordion in her nightclub act for crowds of drunken soldiers who paw at her each night.

The rowdy soldiers practically tear down the place because she wasn’t showing enough leg to suit them, ripping open her pant leg and causing a huge mess.

Leonard sticks around to see if he can be of help getting the place right again. The promise of instant coffee gets him an invite to the back.

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He gives her his army food rations for her kisses, listens to her sad story and brings down the house with his amorous intentions.

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Their romance begins.

Saved from these desperate circumstances, Christine is in no doubt grateful for his proposal, finally she has a home of her own, a life away from the lusty crowds and dear Leonard to worship her, that is until the lonely widow was found dead.

The Lady in the Hat Shop

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Passing through town, Leonard sees the merry widow in a hat shop. Their eyes meet in the glass and they have a happy moment together. He gives her some compliments and helps her choose a fancy new hat.

They part ways on a good note until a few days later, when he sees the same hat blocking his view at the movies. It’s the merry widow once again.

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He shows her his egg beater invention after she invites him home and there her maid Janet dislikes him from the start. She didn’t like his invention, didn’t like him in her kitchen and really didn’t like him with her mistress.

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Janet also knew Leonard was the only one alone with her mistress, around the time she died, before she had come home that night to find her.

Another Witness for the Prosecution who has it out for him before the trial has a chance to start.

The Sensational Trial and Defense

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Leonard is held for trial before the English courts, the prosecution will spare no expense when seeking justice for the murdered widow, Mrs. French.

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Leonard is prone to sudden, exaggerated outbursts of his innocence throughout the heart stopping trial. Sir Wilfred is prone to sneaking sips of smuggled brandy to settle his nerves between popping his heart medicine.

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The testimony is lively, heartfelt and damning, surely it’s all too much for Sir Wilfred to provide a proper defense?

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And the prosecution’s star witness, his wife, what did she have to say now that his life was on the line??

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What caused her to lose faith in him?

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How will her testimony work against his increasingly shaky defense?

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Written in a time when the film makers would ask its audience to “keep the secret” and not give away the ending of the film. How quaint the 50s were.

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Today, people would probably snap chat selfies in the theater, while live Tweeting the plot with their phones, if they were so inclined. Their’s was just a different time and a different generation.

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So, I will honor their wishes and not give away their ending, and instead promise that a rental or purchase of Witness for the Prosecution, is a promise of music, suspense, shock and well, you’ll just have to see it for yourself!

Check it out online at Amazon or on YouTube for $2.99!

Seen this courtroom thriller complete with secreted show from the one and only, Marlene Dietrich, con accordion? Can you believe it? Drop me a comment below!

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Reliving the Classics: Sunset Boulevard

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Taken from Google Images

Before Joan Crawford, Bette Davis or Olivia De Haviland ever took to the silver screen as aging deranged shock killers, there was the one and only, Gloria Swanson, putting them all to shame in her quintessential role, with old Hollywood and all its glamour beautifully displayed, as the infamous former silent screen siren, Norma Desmond.

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Sunset Boulevard begins as the story of a down on his luck writer at the end of his rope and out of hope with the whole writing business. Things truly look bleak for young Joe Gillis, played by William Holden.

Behold, the Guy in the Pool

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The tale of the guy in the pool, our narrator, who turns out to be a B movie writer with little critical success to date. His journey to the pool, begins a few months earlier, but still on the sunny side of Sunset Boulevard.

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Joe Gillis, before his untimely demise, has missed three car payments, needs nearly three hundred dollars to keep his financial creditors at bay (to thwart repossession of his last remaining asset, his car), and is absolutely desperate for any writing work.

After knocking down every producer’s door, ringing the phone off every hook and chasing down every lead, Joe has resigned himself to leaving Hollywood for his hometown of Dayton, Ohio. There he can start over and earn a sensible living as a copywriter at the local paper.

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Even a humble reader at Sheldrake studios, Betty Schaefer, (played by Nancy Olson), sees through his lackluster script as rehashed nonsense unworthy of another chance at celluloid success.

His friend, Sheldrake, agrees with her brutal synopsis. Joe, himself, agrees with her brutal synopsis. Grim prospects, hellish rewrites and ensuing poverty seem to lay ahead in the future for the young, Mr. Gillis.

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Just as he finishes hashing out an escape from the city with the hot car to start his life anew, the financial creditors spot him at a light on the street.

First he loses them in a high speed chase, then just as his tire pops, he turns his car into a rundown driveway and hides it in a secluded garage, which just happens to be on Sunset Boulevard.

He Enters A World of Privilege Forgotten By Time

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He steps out of the old jalopy to assess his peculiar surroundings and is spotted, quickly, by the lady of the house.

She calls to him across the neglected courtyard, and before Joe can explain himself, is ushered up the stairs by her faithful butler, Max Von Mayleer played by Erich Von Stroheim.

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There, he finds the lady of the house, mourning the loss of her companion.

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Joe, dutifully horrified, explains her mistake and realizes that she is the one and only, silent screen star legend, Norma Desmond.

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Noticeably agitated, she goes into a royal huff about the evils of “talkies”, learns his occupation contributes to the barrage of offensive sounds then orders him from the house!

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Until, she remembers her own script.

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Norma sees this as fate for him to read her life’s work and handwritten literary masterpiece. Ah, the Story of Salome; the tale of the ancient scorned princess, that dances the dance of the seven veils for her lover, a holy man. He rejects her, so she then has him beheaded. The head is mounted on a silver platter. “Kissing his cold dead lips.” Norma says. The ultimate penalty for rejecting her love.

Joe is intrigued by her mad, mystical air this devotion to Salome and not without mention, her abundance of creature comforts.

He slips into Norma’s lush, luxurious world and begins to lose himself to her magnetic charms.

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As he reads her tortured script, there’s the long suffering Max in the background, for whatever was needed. Always there with a glass of chilled champagne or a lamp for reading convenience and of course, there was also, watchful Norma.

Watching intently while smoking, like a black widow spider perched on her web and spinning her silk threads all around her defenseless victim.

Joe doesn’t enjoy her constant doting and matronly attempts at affection. He wants to take the script home but she doesn’t want it to leave the house! He can stay there (in the room above the garage), read it there, type up her work and produce an actual script. Joe need not worry about the money, everything can be arranged.

Though this form of financial support is often a ghostwriter’s dream, but for all her generosity, Norma never lets him out of sight for very long.

Queer and Queerer

The next morning, (after awakening to the sound of her ghastly pipe organ playing gayly throughout the whole house) Joe finds his personal belongings from his apartment across town, unpacked and all around his little room above her garage.

Joe marches angrily to the great room and protests to the obvious invasion of privacy, but it’s also a part of the job. He acquiesces to her eccentricities, strange routines and settles into the odd bouts of madness and drudgery that was Norma’s life of privilege.

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One night, over a private showing of her old silent pictures, Joe begins to understand just how far removed from reality, the grand diva, Norma Desmond has become.

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She claims the demand of “talkies” has ended her fabulous career in the silent pictures, the current heads of studio were mere fools for bowing to the demands of modern convention, demanding the ears of the audience as well as the eyes.

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Then and there, before a startled Joe, she vows a triumphant return to the silver screen, in style, with her passionate tragic love story, (written from the recesses of her heart), the exploits of the murderous princess, Salome.

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The “Perks” of the Job

Having read the disorganized script, the jumble of melodramatic mush, Joe is skeptical of the film’s possible success.

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She, as the author and the star, had to have the most lines, the most screen time and couldn’t bare any cuts to the script. The fans that still sent her fan mail and begged for her photographs wouldn’t stand for it! Or so she thinks.

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Until reality set in, her money is enough to keep him comfortable. He had a job finally, all he had to do was go along with her demands.

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The thing was, the silly script was Joe’s excuse for remaining within her sad, encroaching plush walls.

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They continue on, Joe organizes her script, fits into her life like a glove. Norma prefers to keep him near as he works and they settle into a little routine when suddenly, during her weekly bridge game, his persistent creditors find him, even come to the front door.

They have come for his last piece of independence from Norma, his car, while she cut cards with her old cronies his livelihood was being towed from the garage.

Despite his urgency, madam will not give him the money. She will not halt the reposession.

After all, “we already have a car”, she cooes to him. To him it was life and death, after all, that’s what brought him there in the first place! Joe begins to get over the loss of his car, he still had his health and Norma’s wealth, and really, that old clunker was one of a kind.

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He stayed put.

A New Year’s Eve to Remember

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Joe couldn’t get over her satin and lace lifestyle. She had the best of everything, the finest wines, foods and furniture as a former celebrity. And madam was generous with her young writer.

After purchasing Joe a brand new stylish wardrobe, (check out that valcuna) a sudden leaky roof in his room above the garage forces him into the “first husband” suite within the big house.

Without much effort, Joe has become accustomed to the playboy lifestyle. Norma finds him a comfortable companion suitable for her rich decadent lifestyle. He reluctantly slips into the role like working in a new pair of shoes.

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The highly anticipated night of New Year’s Eve is upon them and we find the grand madam in high spirits.
The mansion has been refreshed for the New Year, the best of everything is laid out all arranged by the great lady herself.

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When Joe arrives, dressed in a tux and tails, Norma wants to drink and dance the tango. Her young companion obliges, and is restlessly waiting for the other guests to arrive.

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It is within that decadent fare Norma’s true desires become undeniably clear to Joe. There are no other guests, but embarrassingly, he thinks, Norma fancies herself in love with her young writer/companion.

Drunkenly, Norma plans their happy future together; she’ll fill the pool, buy him a boat, they’ll sail to Hawaii together. Why not, she’s rich?

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Joe becomes irritated by her suggestion of a relationship between them. This wasn’t part of the job, after all.

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Joe, a man easily half her 50 years, is completely put off by the dawning realization of her needs and tells her straight: he’s not the one for her.

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Norma lashes out at the rejection, even slaps him!

Slap!! (Taken from Google Images)

Enraged, she storms across the grand ballroom then runs up the stairs and out of sight.

Joe takes it all in strides and makes a hasty exit, with his raincoat in hand, hitchhikes his way in the rain back into the city.

He had to be around his own kind for awhile.

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Deciding to check in with his old buddy, Artie Green, he finds a joyous rustic group of his same ilk. Young, happy writers singing and laughing, unsullied by the cruel ways of Hollywood.

There’s good Betty Schaefer, the reader employed by Sheldrake, Artie Green’s fiancé, reminding him of the life he was missing while he was busy being kept in a guilded cage by Norma.

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She pulls him off to the side and mentions being able to get him a job writing again. Alone, they have an undeniably chemistry both just feel instantly. They vibe as he waits for the phone. She suggests a joint project based of a character she actually liked in his story.

Joe prepares to crash out on the couch for a few weeks, he calls the gruff Max to prepare for his things to be sent immediately, when he finds out the tragic news.

Great Stars Have Great Pride

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In his short absence, the grand madam took Joe’s razor from his room and slashed her wrists in despair after he rejected her.

Overcome by guilt, she’s been so good to him and at his lowest point, Joe rushes from Artie’s girl and the young party to be by Norma’s side.

As the band plays on in the ballroom, he goes to find her, sprawled out on her lavish sleigh bed. Her tiny body wrapped in ruffles and lace, both wrists bandaged.

Joe is struck with how vulnerable she is in those desperate, pitiable hours and just as the clock strikes midnight, tenderly kisses Norma as he wishes her a happy new year.

Soon along with sharing her life, he will also share her resplendent sleigh bed.

Mr. Norma Desmond the 4th

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Joe Gillis, finally got that pool he always wanted. He was still working on that mess of a script, but now the perks of the job including even more fringe benefits.

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His status has instantly elevated from hired help to constant companion to boy toy lover.

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The stars have aligned and according to an astrologist, it was time to send the script out to Cecil B. DeMille. Joe is less than thrilled at the news, there was no way they would actually make her movie.

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Unphased, Norma goes to great lengths to keep him entertained as they wait to hear from the studio. She performs what Joe has dubbed “The Norma Desmond Follies”, complete with a realistic Charlie Chaplin impersonation.

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It’s all more than anything you could ever imagine and everything a Norma Desmond fan could ever hope for. But Joe is not a “Norma Desmond fan”.

Soon, incredulously, Paramount Picture Studios begins calling.

Paramount’s Brightest Star Returns 

Norma’s ego is slightly wounded at the lack of personal touch her script has received, after all, she and DeMille had achieved so much success together.

Her pictures put Paramount Studios on the map! So why are there assistants calling, when he should be jumping at the opportunity to work again with his Brightest Star?

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Norma goes to confront the great director at the studio herself, decked out in her finest clothes and her face perfectly painted.

There she finds her old crew, 30 years later, still enthralled by her grace and regal presence among them.

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Shocked at her sudden appearance, DeMille graciously accommodates the very inconvenience of her, sets her up in his director’s chair. Then he quickly phones the one responsible for her misunderstanding, Gordon Caul, the prop assistant, and realizes they were calling to use her car in an upcoming Crosby picture. Not that awful Salome script.

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He turns and realizes the homecoming taking place in his studio. The grand madam has returned, her old crew puts her under the spotlight and both still love her. All the fawning and adulation is too much for Cecil B. DeMille to bare.

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He cannot tell her the truth; time has moved on, they would not be working again now, or in the future, and Salome was garbage. He can’t do that to her.

Cecil B. DeMille won’t burst her warbling illusions of a grand return and collaboration. He lets her believe if the opportunity presented itself, they would work.

Hopeful Norma beams at this prospect, and it’s all DeMille can do to be rid of her.

The Persistence of the Betrothed Betty

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While DeMille meets with Norma, Max directs Joe’s attention up to the current reader’s room, Norma’s old dressing room. Just at that moment, Betty walks by and Joe excuses himself from Max, then bounds up the stairs to chat with her.

Betty is pleased as punch to see him, she had been trying to get ahold of him ever since he’d rushed out. She still wants to write that story.

Joe gives her a few suggestions but at the blaring of the car horn, he leaves it as just that, her work with his suggestions.

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He goes back down the stairs where Max is waiting and tells Joe the bittersweet news. Paramount’s assistants were calling, hounding them, and madam’s car was wanted but madam was not.

But no one in her circle could bring themselves to tell her the news.

Learning the truth would shatter her fragile ego, destroy her, they all know it. Instead the charade carries on, she stays clueless. In her mind, her public awaits and she must prepare herself!

The beauty ritual begins and it’s in that big torturous production that Norma begins to lose some of her charm.

The Beginning of the End

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Norma is desperate to turn back the clocks for her role as Salome. She obsesses over every line, pore and wrinkle, does every beauty treatment imaginable to look her best for the cameras.

Sparing no expensive for her audience, nothing was out of bounds for that return to Paramount Studios. She examines every morsel of food, shares the loss of every half pound with schoolgirl delight. It was so very real, to her.

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Joe is there through everything; the endless preening, the constant fussing, the stressing and superficiality of it all. He is increasingly put off by his inclusion in her hallucinations of grandeur.

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He begins to sneak out at night. While Norma sleeps, Joe takes the car and goes out, back to Betty and their real script with real potential and possibility.

His sneaking around and alternative pursuits do not go unnoticed. Norma suspects it could be a girl, someone who could offer him what she cannot: youth. Just how can she compete, a woman of her advancing years, with such cruel competition as that?

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Betty’s youth, her optimistic air is no doubt intoxicating and the chemistry between them, undeniably strong. Joe knows, Betty feels it but she is still engaged to his pal, Artie.

Then of course, there was what to do with Norma, waiting for a curtain call that would never come, for an audience that has long since moved on.

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He owed her so much all ready, could he really put an end to the lifestyle he had become accustomed to? Walk away, start over, and try again?

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Norma can sense the distance growing between herself and the young writer, despite her growing suspicions, Joe does not stray far for long.

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He returns and poor, demented Norma grappling for her hold on her young lover, after she does the unthinkable to keep him near.

Sour grapes emerge from within that madness to shine a new dark light on the greatest silent star.

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That jealousy she feels, the suspicions that arise within the great Norma Desmond, the fading beauty, bubble up within that terrible tension and take root.

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Can Joe’s ego survive these blows? Can Norma’s?

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How can things go on between them, now that so much has gone wrong?

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What does it take to be a star? Is it the rise to fame, the upkeep to maintain that prescence, the way people treat you or the way you treat others?

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Is loyalty a requirement of the job, or of the heart? Is the penalty fitting of the crime in this case, all fair in love and war?

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What really happened to Joe Gillis? How does he end up in that pool, he loved so much? How will Norma face the crowds under this shame?

Enter Salome, Stage Right

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So many things lead to the events that transpired that night, the night the guy who writes B movies ended up in the pool of Norma Desmond.

Clearly, the owner of the house has a lot to explain, but she doesn’t seem quite like herself lately. They can’t get a straight answer out of her, what were they supposed to do, haul her away? A great lady?

With so many people feeding the illusions of this one poor woman, past her prime but still clinging to the spotlight, can they blame her for what’s come to pass?

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The cameras she worked so hard for are now waiting. Not movie cameras this time, but news reels, but still! A great star knows the show must always go on! But how? How could the great Norma Desmond ever live this down?

What about poor Max, what happens to his madam? How will they get her down the stairs to face justice and the waiting crowds?

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The public awaits. Fame, fans and success is something every actor strives for, what happens when you receive that precious wish? How do you survive in the shadows of a business that no longer acknowledges your place in the sun at the top?

All this for the mad dark princess, realized by one who felt her fatal flaw…

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Norma’s life work about that mad, murderous princess, with so much pride she tries to seduce a man beyond her station, then has him murdered for spite because he rejects her charms?

Salome manifested. (Taken from Google Images)

Surely her tale deserves to be told or at the very least, shown?

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How does the world receive the performance her fans have been waiting for, that Joe died for, that the great Norma Desmond went positively mad for??

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What becomes of the ones who lived and loved on Sunset Boulevard?

To find out, watch the movie on Xfinity on demand, buy it online or on Amazon.com here.

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Reliving the Classics: Gilda

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Released in 1946, Gilda is the often imitated, never duplicated, dramatic film about a raging romance set in gambling halls and seedy nightclubs in a hot little village in Argentina.

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The lead actress, Rita Hayworth has inspired countless other characters with her slinky iconic look, including Jessica Rabbit. Another notable film credit is being the actress on the poster used on the wall in The Shawshank Redemption. Similar events take place in both films which suggests the poster inspired more than the infamous escape.

Rita Hayworth, the First Bombshell Beauty, Literally

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According to legend, the term “bombshell beauty” originates first with the one and only, Rita Hayworth.

Rita’s image was placed on an atom bomb after the release of her iconic movie Gilda. 

She was never consulted before this, the ultimate decision to use her image was made as a tribute to her beauty from the fly boy crew in charge of its deployment.

Privately, Rita vehemently objected to being used on a tool of war and destruction, but she was censored from speaking out against the war by higher forces.

Friends Who Like To Make Their Own Luck

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The story begins with Johnny (played by Glenn Ford), fresh off the boat and into the seedy streets off the coast of Argentina.

After gambling the night away with American sailors and a pair of loaded dice, Johnny’s takes his winnings out to the alley to count them.

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Up comes a mugger, with a gun in his back before he can even get through half the stack, a stranger with a cane comes up out of the darkness to swat the gun away!

Thanks to the hideaway sword in his cane, Johnny narrowly escapes with his wad of cash. The cane belongs to a smart dressed man with an accent, who was just happening along. With a little chit chat, it turns out he’s Johnny’s gambling peer on the pier.

The stranger saves his fortune (and his life), even ventures to give him some sage advice, “don’t bring your own dice”, when he tries his luck at these games.

Taken from Google Images

After sharing a cigarette with a plucky Johnny, he directs him to the action at a little place he knows. Illegal gambling, Johnny’s trade but he’d better leave his loaded dice at home?

It’s an offer to make his own luck that Johnny can’t refuse.

Taken from Google Images

Once at the gambling hall, he gets up to his old tricks, cutting cards to win at blackjack (technically not dice).

His repeat winnings draw the attention of the house Detective and gets him hauled upstairs to the boss for cheating.

After taking a few lumps from security, (then returning a few punches to the ones responsible, and gaining the upper hand), Johnny manages to weasel himself a job from the man he just cheated, (and the man who saved his life) the gambling hall owner, Ballin Mundson, played by George Macgready.

 Taken from Google Images

With a promise not to cheat, and to be as obedient as his trusty hide-away sword cane, Ballin lets down his guard and promotes him within the gambling hall.

Things are running smoothly as Johnny handles the security for the casino, he is moving up in the world.

Taken from Google Images

He’s Ballin’s righthand man, his job is keeping an eye on Ballin’s affairs/interests. While Ballin is a generous benefactor and has his hands in a little bit of everything surrounding his club, there are things Johnny just doesn’t know about him.

It’s all the same to Johnny, who lives by the same philosophy as Ballin: Women and gambling don’t mix. So, with that understanding they toast to just the 3 of them. What could go wrong?

Enter the Dame: What Happened to Just the 3 of Us?

The war with Germany ends, spirits are high across the world and Ballin, (who has a German accent) needs to travel suddenly to settle some sort of business.

Johnny’s such a loyal and obedient worker, Ballin takes the time off and leaves Johnny in charge of his gambling hall as he heads out of town. He learns the ins and outs, which buttons push what for what, and before long the generous but unsettling Ballin is off..

While his boss is gone, Johnny keeps things running smoothly. The gamblers stay happy and the liquor flowing, so naturally, he is excited when his boss blows back into town. With an unexpected 3rd wheel to their understanding.

Taken from Google Images

His new wife, Gilda played by Rita Hayworth. As soon as they meet the chemistry is palpable but it’s unclear as to what sparks the reaction between them.

Johnny is noticeably taken aback, even smirks when Ballin asks his new wife if she’s decent.

Taken from Google Images

For an informal introduction, it’s clear, the two have already made their minds up about each other.

Taken from Google Images

Gilda refuses to play nice, for even a few minutes, which leads Ballin to several conclusions: they were trying to hide their previous connection. He helps Gilda get dressed and makes it known, Johnny is a friend and she needed to get along with him.

Taken from Google Images

And though she never makes their previous relationship clear, Ballin knows whatever happened between them, is not entirely over.

A clutz with zippers. Gilda and Ballin (George Macgready). Taken from Google Images.

Ballin needed to get to the bottom of this feeling.

Gilda can hardly contain her emotions or hold back her contempt for the news that her old Johnny is such good friends with her new husband. She would do what she was told but warned Ballin he would have to teach her manners.

Taken from Google Images.

Gilda also cannot contain her desire for former flame, Johnny, despite her hasty rebound marriage to his boss. What was a girl to do with all that rage?

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It amuses Ballin to watch their awkward tension play out across drinks where he inquires into Johnny’s past, his love life and what gave him such a cold understanding towards women.

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After all, Gilda and Johnny share the exact same story: born the night they met Ballin, no past. So much evasion when just the sight of one another sends off heat in the atmosphere.

Taken from Google Images

Gilda plays along with Ballin’s game and suggests they should all “hate her”, whoever broke Johnny’s heart. They toast, Johnny cheerfully willing at her suggestions, but for Gilda, the bubbles seem to get caught in her throat. Ballin sees it all.

Taken from Google Images

Once alone, the moment Ballin is called away from the table, Johnny and Gilda have it out. He’s disgusted by her choice of occupation, being married to his generous friend.

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Gilda points out their circumstances were remarkably similar, considering Johnny was the one responsible for her hasty marriage, after he ditched her to make it as a high stakes gambler.

Taken from Google Images

A stranger comes up to ask Johnny’s permission to dance with Gilda, he says no. Gilda sees this as her first opportunity to disobey him, to show him things were different and see how he likes that.

She happily leaves the table, after all, Johnny can’t afford her, and slow dances with the stranger, while all he can do is watch.

 Taken from Google Images.

Finally, Gilda figured out what it took to get Johnny’s attention.

When Ballin returns to find Gilda gone, he tells a reluctant Johnny to go and fetch her for him. After all, a man looked ridiculous taking his wife back from another man.

The night ends with poor Gilda, laying across her bed in her ballgown, she simply can’t work a zipper properly to take it off. Ballin helps, but really wants to discuss the introduction and meeting with his right hand man, Johnny.

Taken from Google Image

Gilda admits they were together before but she never really knew him. Ballin shares his secret with his new bride, after some reflection on the hate he felt between them. Hate, is the only thing that warms him.

Yet Another Part of the Job

After successfully keeping her away from any new suitors on the dancefloor, and bring her back to Ballin unharmed, the boss decides to make guarding Gilda another part of Johnny’s job.

Taken from Google Images

Things are always bubbling around the enigmatic Ballin. Shady characters, back alley deals, bribes and corruption were always happening all around. While the boss keeps his eye on business, it’s up to Johnny to keep Gilda in line.

Taken from Google Images

Gilda tries her luck at the gambling tables and does just fine. A man comes up and warns her of a superstition attached to her good fortune: lucky in cards, unlucky in love.

Spooked, she decides to have a smoke which leads her to another stranger, maybe this one could get Johnny’s attention?

Taken from Google Images

Married after the day they met, Ballin is completely smitten with his beautiful new wife, despite her wandering ways and Johnny’s attempts to warn him.

Gilda knows her husband is a dangerous man, but she hardly gives him a second thought whenever Johnny is around.

She just couldn’t help herself, she still held feelings for him, and Johnny just hated her all the more for it.

Taken from Google Images

And whenever Johnny was around, it was all she could do to keep his attention, any kind of attention.

Taken from Google Images

He has his hands full beating up and scaring off her conquest for the night, instead of helping Ballin with increasingly sordid and underhanded business.

Gilda doesn’t appreciate his macho act, and solely on behalf of her new controlling husband, not because of his feelings for her.

Taken from Google Images

Things between them would only keep heating up, making their entanglements even stickier from there.

The Carnival: All She Really Wanted

Taken from Google Images

The tension builds between them, Ballin orders Johnny to accompany Gilda to the ball. He’s been covering for her lies all this time, but now, the dance just intensifies his displeasure.

Taken from Google Images

Johnny is ice cold to Gilda’s previous attempts at making him jealous, all she really wants is to be closer to him, so she tries even harder to tease him more. Dancing closer, holding tighter, she just can’t help herself!

Out of disgust he shoves her away from him, right in the middle of the dance floor! This is Gilda’s cue to run off since she is left alone by Johnny again.

Taken from Google Images

Hot tempered Johnny leaves her right there in the middle of the dance floor. He’s had enough of her foolishness, so he heads back to check on security. Last thing he wants to hear from his guys, something was gonna go down and he needed to take Gilda home.

Ballin’s troubled business connections spill out into the gambling hall, there’s gunfire and Johnny has to protect his boss. It’s the writing on the wall for Ballin, if anything should happen to him, he needed Johnny to take over for him. Keep the club running strong.

Gilda’s gone but she’s left a note, come and get her from a hotel at about 2 in the morning.

Taken from Google Images.

It’s a love/hate connection between them. She tries to explain herself but Johnny isn’t interested in talking. Not a first.

She was so selfish, so foolhardy caring only for herself. He tried to run her off on his own, and failed miserably.

They end up kissing passionately before too long.

Taken from Google Images

It’s clear that Ballin has seen their betrayal and with his own eyes. Johnny runs after his employer to explain himself.

Taken from Google Images

Moments later, after giving chase in a car and driving all over, Ballin escapes to a waiting plane in a field, and before Johnny’s eyes, crashes engulfed in flames in the ocean.

Before he “dies”,  Ballin gives Johnny executorship over his estate and business, Gilda gets his fortune.

The Tables Have Turned: Decent?

Taken from Google Images

Johnny quickly woos the unsuspecting Gilda, who opens her heart back up to trusting the man who nearly broke her free spirit and set her on this path of self destruction.

Taken from Google Images

Inside, Johnny’s beside himself with guilt. It didn’t help that, the last thing his generous employer sees before death, was the man he trusted, saved and gave a new life to, kissing his new wife. After all he had done for them, it was too much for him to bear.

Taken from Google Images

Johnny devises a plan to get his revenge on Gilda for the part she played in Ballin’s suicide. When she arrives at her new home, all her things are there, including Ballin’s potrait. It wasn’t decent that it should be there, Gilda exclaims! Johnny sneers, after all, what did she know about decency?

Taken from Google Images

The tides and tables have suddenly turned, Johnny marries her, but only to keep her in a cage. He never consummates the marriage, it’s all been a farce to pay her back for the death of his employer.

Gilda is clueless to his motives, each night waiting patiently for her new husband, each morning she wakes alone.

Unlucky in love again, it’s another risk to chance but superstitious Gilda must be free of his hold. She runs away as Johnny shows his true colors, starts her legendary nightclub act in another city.

Taken from Google Images

Johnny goes to great, cruel and heartbreaking lengths to trick her back to the Hotel Centario and into his control once again.

Gilda is trapped, livid, and almost completely broken after his latest elaborate deception. Almost.

Why Not Give Him A Reason?: The Legendary Impromptu Strip Tease  

Gilda’s revenge for Johnny’s trick is bittersweet and for all to see.

She never ran out on Ballin or Johnny, not really, just went through the motions to get a reaction from Johnny.

But now they had both taken things too far. Johnny wouldn’t listen to reason and since she was going to keep being punished for what she hadn’t done and accused, so…well?

Taken from Google Images

Taken from Google Images

Gilda won’t stand being played for a fool, so she decides to do her little nightclub act.

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This time at Johnny’s bar.

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Gilda’s does an impromptu strip tease for the crowd while she sings! The crowd is so raucous they scream for her to take off more!

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And more! Until there’s nothing left to take off except…

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She can’t mean…

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Tf?

Taken from Google Images

Before she can get assistance slipping off her dress for the cheering crowd, it all ends with yet another bodyguard dragging her off stage.

She finds Johnny waiting for her, she starts to scream at him and furious Johnny interrupts her tantrum by slapping Gilda’s face!

Johnny don’t play that. (Taken from Google Images)

Can they go on, will he ever forgive her, will she get an annulment?

What else can go wrong between the two lovers?

Taken from Google Images

Will Johhny ever listen to reason, ever get over the past, ever realize it was all just a dangerous game?

Taken from Google Images.

This visually luxe thriller gives it’s audience a steady cast of nefarious characters with questionable morals, motives and decency.

Taken from Google Images

Plot twist and red herrings abound, but in the end, Gilda gets her man Johnny and runs off into the hot Argentinean night.

Taken from Google Images

A crazy tale of young love that blazes through rejection, betrayal and contempt then nearly reduces everything around them to ashes it burns so hot!

Taken from Google Images.

Watch Gilda online at Amazon.com or order from Xfinity on demand. Check out Rita Hayworth’s full collection: here.

Enjoyed the antics of Gilda and Johnny, unlucky in love but lucky in cards on the coast of Argentina? Love Rita Hayworth? Drop me a comment below!

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Worth a Second Look: The Hudsucker Proxy

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Taken from Google Images

The Hudsucker Proxy is the sweeping 1950s industrial drama from the Cohen brothers’ first released 1994. It’s now known as a classic piece of movie magic famous for its neo-noir cinematography style.

Starring Tim Robbins as the titular proxy Norville Barnes, this fish out of water story comes complete with an impossible ending that makes the audience stretch their imaginations and want to believe.

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Taken from Google Images

As the movie opens, the big clock on Hudsucker Industries is just about to strike midnight.

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Taken from Google Images

We find our young hero, Norville Barns, the president of Hudsucker Industries, out on the ledge of his office, about to jump. The circumstances take a sudden, dire turn, rather quickly.

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Taken from Google Images

What brought young Norville, an enterprising young man with such promise and potential, to this low end in a high place and on New Year’s Eve?

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Taken from Google Images

To understand what very well may be his last day as president, we must look back to his first day on the job.

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Taken from Google Images

Which happens to be the same day Warring Hudsucker, the former president of the company, himself, came flying out of the boardroom window.

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Taken from Google Images

A selfish move on his part, the greedy board is left holding onto the lush stocks of helmless portfolio.

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Taken from Google Images

Soon the controlling interest in the company will go public, and they will lose any advantages they incurred at the top.

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Taken from Google Images

Sidney Mussburger, the balls to the wall businessman played by Paul Newman, devises a plan to drive down the value of the stock so the board can snatched up the controlling interest and continue to rule Hudsucker Industries at the top.

In order to buy more, they needed a chump, a dope, a real sucker to head the company and send their shareholders in a panic of mass depreciation.

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Taken from Google Images

Enter one Norville Barnes with his almighty blue letter, ready with his greatest idea and wits to pitch him the next best thing for kids. He manages to save the day through hilarious hijinks that must be seen to be believed!

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Taken from Google Images

And so begins the start of his tenure as president of Hudsucker Industries.

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Taken from Google Images

The Hudsucker Proxy is an industrial age romantic fantasy about the wonders and woes of the influence makers at the top.

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Taken from Google Images

Even a wide eyed idealist, fresh out of Muncie Indiana Business School, can lose it all, and find himself at the end of his wits.

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Taken from Google Images

Amy Archer, the fast talking career gal at the news desk, played by Jennifer Jason Leigh, is the first one to question the appointment of Norville as the head of Hudsucker. What made Barnes such an “idea man”, why was he promoted his first day in the mailroom, and what was the hubris board and the increasingly sinister Mussburger up to?

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Taken from Google Images

For an exclusive piece for her newspaper, Amy decides to go undercover at the Hud itself. To get to the bottom of the story, she cons Norville out of free lunch and a job by pretending to be desperate, fresh out of Muncie Polytechnic Secretarial College with a mother suffering from lombaygo. Norville hires her as his personal secretary and tells her about his brain child, “for kids”, a thingum.

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Taken from Google Images

Unimpressed by his vision, Amy prints up an unflattering story about Norville being a phony idea man and a real half wit, which in turn brings out a defensive side to Norville, which Amy instantly respects.

She regrets having judged him so harshly but it is too late to turn back the negative publicity campaign she an the other media heads have already run the story.

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Taken from Google Images

She now knows she must do all she can to help him achieve his dream of producing his whatzit for kids.

This is the beginning of the budding love story of Norville and Amy.

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Taken from Google Images

The thing was, although her story did cause the depreciation Mussburger along with the geriatric board dreamed and schemed about, they all underestimated Norville’s invention.

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Taken from Google Images

(The longsuffering creative process that inspired the name “Hula Hoop”.)

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Taken from Google Images

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For kids. (Taken from Google Images.)

This invention is all hit among the kids, connected with the world and became the biggest fad of the time.

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Taken from Google Images

Young Norville has become a household name, the Hudsucker stock is at an all time high, but the trouble has just begun for the board and Mussburger.

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Taken from Google Images

They sold their stock before catching Norville’s wave of success and now need to be able to gain control of his stock to have any interest in their company.

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Taken from Google Images

It’s enough tension they have to send a guy in for a massage inside the boardroom.

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Taken from Google Images

Mussburger himself is so tense about Hudsucker futures, its enough for him to send his proxy out on a limb (and a ledge) for his untimely success.

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Norville manages to lose his nerve after Mussburger confronts him with the truth about the young Miss Archer, putting the company in a dangerous position and Norville, out on a ledge.

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Taken from Google Images

How does Norville survive his fall from the top?

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Taken from Google Images

How does Hudsucker Industries fare now that the newest chief executive officer is preparing to make a splash on Fifth Avenue, literally??

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Taken from Google Images

Watch or buy The Hudsucker Proxy @ Amazon.com to see how it all plays out!

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Taken from Google Images

Loved the movie? Leave me a comment below!

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Cinco De Mayo Sangria

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After using the Tisdale Pinot Noir for Awesome Saucery’s Slow Cooker Coq au Vin, I decided to make a fruity Sangria for Cinco de Mayo.

It’s now May the first and I have 5 days of mottling and stirring and waiting for the wine to absorb all that fruit flavor.

The Longer You Wait The Better

Years ago, there was a recipe I came across for traditional Sangria that called for a marinating time of 3 to 9 days so I will have to update when I finally get to drink it!

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Lots of vitamin C, antioxidants and cellular assistance in this fruit bowl!

Awesome Antioxidants

My diet currently incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables as well as a vitamin regime with supplements (biotin and collagen) for optimum hair growth and to provide the nutrients I need to battle my deficiencies. Check out my blog for healthy recipes, vitamin regimes, supplements (collagen) and more on tips for healthy hair growth!

Red wine contains lots of antioxidants that are essential for optimum functioning and health, so while this is not considered a health drink, it won’t derail your beach body plans!

Head over to Amazon.com for some summer beach body inspiration.

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The Haul Required for Awesome Saucery’s Cinco De Mayo Sangria:

1 bottle of Barefoot  Pinot Noir

1 cup of triple sec

1 cup of Paul Masson brandy

1 bag of Dole Tropical Fruit Blend

1 can of mandarin orange segments (drained)

1 can of pineapple tidbits (drained)

1 pound cleaned fresh blackberries

2 sliced fuji apples

2 sliced cuties in washed peel

1 and a half cup of sugar

3 cups of ice

1 cinnamon stick

Tools Required

1 potato masher

1 large pitcher

1 long wooden spoon

Wine glasses

 

Directions

1.) Combine all the fruit in a large pitcher with sugar and ice.

2.) Mottle fruit and ice with the sugar to release the juices.

3.) Add bottle of red wine, brandy, triple sec and cinnamon stick to pitcher.

4.) Stir to combine.

5.) Refrigerate for 4 to 9 days. I like to stir and mash the fruit down once a day to release some juices into the wine.

6.) After the wait serve with ice and some of the fruit in wine glasses!

Orrrr!!

You can add half Pinot Noir (I am using Barefoot Wines) and half Chardonnay for wines, triple sec and brandy with simple syrup as a base for fruit combinations and additions, liqour combinations. The possibilities and flavor potentials are limitless!

Alternative Serving Suggestions

Enjoy Sangria straight up, or add it to seltzer water for a fizz. It’s delicious any way you choose!

Serve in a wine glass, in a glass goblet, use your imagination, add some of the marinated fruit, an umbrella and sip!!

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Revisiting the Classics: Queen Bee

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Movie poster                           (Taken from Google Images)

In her hey day, Joan Crawford was one of MGM’s top selling artists. By 1955, (17 years before WHTBJ) Joan Crawford’s star at rival studio Columbia Pictures was fading. Her legendary love life overshadowed her career as she was engaged to Pepsi giant, Al Steele, at the time.

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(Taken from Google Images)

Queen Bee was a part written for Joan by debut director (and writer of her Oscar winning performance in Mildred Pierce), Randald MacDougall. Perhaps, he wanted to lay it bare for his audience, the monster they created?

According to Hollywood legend, her daughter, Christina Crawford was so disturbed and unnerved by Joan’s “acting”, she had to leave the theatre when she first saw it.

This was apparently Joan’s caustic, violent and abusive personality when she was drinking with her friends, and MacDougall’s role for her gives a glimpse of perhaps further evidence to validating the claims of Christina Crawford’s childhood depicted in Mommy Dearest.

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From the forlorn faces of her family to poor, innocent Cousin Jennifer’s schoolgirl grin, this is, Eva Philips in all her glory and the women she, the Queen Bee, stings to rule her hive.                          (Taken from Google Images)

An intensely bitter Eva Philips, the treacherous, malignant narcissist wife of boozy textile magnate Avery Philips (played by Barry Sullivan) and the mother of their two children (a boy and a girl who bear uncanny resemblances to her own adopted children, Christopher and Christina Crawford), has a cruel bark that’s even worse than her vicious bite.

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(Taken from Google Images

It’s clear, as the movie progresses, Eva must have what she wants (all the male attention in her social circle) no matter who she betrays or what may come of her victims.

Those who “oppose her” suffer the dire consequences of her ire, and not all of her female opponents survive.

Carol Philips (played by Betsey Palmer), explains the icy reception given to Eva by her relatives to sweet, unsuspecting Jennifer, by explaining something she learned about Queen Bees.

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(Taken from Google Images)

Rather like Joan Crawford’s real life, all the men served as drones, the women mere competition to her vanity. Like the Queen Bee that controls the hive, Eva lashes out, berates and emotionally manipulates every female member of her close circle until they either go mad, escape her desperate clutches or die.

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Slap! (Taken from Google Images)

The movie opens with the arrival of Cousin Jennifer (Lucy Marlow), before Eva, to a small gathering at the Philip mansion. By the end of the first scene, (after the arrival of Eva) it’s clear by the awkward tension, fleeing guests and arguments that things are not as they seem.

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Eva staring down her sister-in-law, Carol, with her claws on her husband’s shoulder at dinner.                               (Taken from Google Images)

The inflection never matches the delivery, and each word spoken meant either to hurt, or to smother her target with affection to get her way.

Eva is charming, but her sickly, bittersweet charms are pure poison. Only her children, husband and Jennifer can survive her venomous schemes.

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(Taken from Google Images)

Judson Prentiss, (played by real life lover, John Ireland) the Beau of sister-in-law Carol, is having an affair with Eva.

The night before the young couple plans to leave the Philip mansion, and finally marry, Eva confesses the affair to Carol and tell her to ask Judd. “Philips aren’t afraid,” she taunts.

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Learning of Carol’s death.             (Taken from Google Images)

Carol then commits suicide in the barn.

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Realizin she’s responsible…                                          (Taken from Google Images)

This is the beginning of the end for this bitter, antagonistic vulture of a woman.

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(Taken from Google Images)

Eva, still lashing out at her husband, Avery,  with every chance she gets as her lover Judd, gives his notice at the mill to escape the guilt of his role in Carol’s suicide.

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(Taken from Google Images)

Avery hatches a plot to absorb whatever Eva throws his way and return it with gushing affection in an attempt to win her over. He seals her fate with a piece of jewelry she once said she could die happy with. Prophetic, really.

By the end, the men outwit one another for the privilege of killing her to end their suffering and spare the rest of the family her endless rounds of ubiquitous cruelty.

Catch Queen Bee on TCM on Demand or online at Amazon.com, if you dare!

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Movie poster taken from Google images.

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Worth a 2nd Look: Kansas City

Though it wasn’t met with much commercial nor critical success when first released in 1996, producer and director, Robert Altman’s, Kansas City is definitely worth a second look now.  ​

(Taken from Google Images)

Over 20 years later, this film touches on the timeless themes America as a society frequently tolerates throughout our history like; open misogyny, political corruption, vices and racial inequalities.

Though we’re never given a definitive date for the film, the snappy costumes and fast paced dialogue (as well as set cues) lets us know it’s probably set in the early 30s during the Depression.

To be honest, there’s a whole lot going on with this period piece; a hapdash kidnapping, a crooked election, a bumbling robbery, several gun murders, and the end of an ill-fated romance between love struck Blondie (played by Jennifer Jason Leigh) and her dim witted, smooth talking Johnny (played by Dermot Mulroney).

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With a story line ripped from the pages of the old serial publication True Detective, the movie opens with mousy haired, fast talking little spitfire Blondie, driving up to the mansion of Caroline Stilton (played masterfully by Miranda Richardson) to “pinch” her nail appointment for older sister Babe (played by Silence of the Lambs alum Brooke Smith).  ​

(Taken from Google Images)

Right off the bat, nothing is as it seems and plans go awry as instead of giving her a manicure, desperate Blondie kidnaps the laudanum addled wife of the only man she thinks will be able to save her Johnny from the clutches of “colored gangsters”, the advisor to President Roosevelt himself, Henry Stilton (played by Michael Murphy).

​(Taken from Google Images)

Why does her Johnny need saving from “colored gangsters” run by cocaine toking, Monarch cab company owner/murderer/gambler/jazz lover Seldom Seen (played by honoray Oscar winner, Harry Belafonte)? Well, remember that bumbling robbery, I mentioned?

Johnny, (who was more set dressing as a character than anything else), gets caught IMMEDIATELY after the successful hold up! Fresh off the train, the mark, “good loser” gambler Sheepshan (played by A.C. Tony Smith) has Seldom Seen uncover the identity of Johnny with the help of accomplice, Blue Green (played by Martin Martin), “the worst driver”  the Monarch cab company happens to employ. He doesn’t even have time to finish cleaning off the blackface (yea) before Seldom’s crew arrives to take him back to the Hey Hey Club, where his buddy, Blue Green is being kept.

All this stupidity unfolds during a stressful election, while Babe’s jerky, bar owner/racist/husband (played by Steve Buscemi) makes sure the fix is in for the Democratic ticket. So, maybe, Johnny thought his little Amos and Andy act would go unnoticed? Maybe he even hoped his antics would impress his brother-in-law or the “Italians” he briefly mentions to make a name for himself?After all, this baseball weilding, head cracking psychopath, (also named Johnny) has his hands in a little bit of everything around town and (somehow) knows exactly what’s going on through his seedy, underworld connections but never lifts a finger to help Blondie, Babe or Jonny after the mess they create. ​

(Taken from Google Images)​

This apathy and acquiescence to “what will” appears to be one of the recurring plot cues throughout the film. Through the graphic violence, changing time sequences and foul language; everyone is connected, nothing is as it seems, but that’s just the way it is in Kansas City.

(Taken from Google Images)

​(Taken from Google Images)

Thinking they can talk their way out of anything, Jean Harlow fanatic Blondie and her Johnny (like her very own Clark Gable), can’t seem to touch down from their Hollywood fantasy playing out on the mean Missouri streets. Their antics overshadow the true love story of Mr. and Mrs. Stilton, the political advisor and his “dope head” wife.

(Taken from Google Images)

“Hinny” would have moved heaven and Earth to get back his lil “Pussy” meanwhile, Johnny couldn’t even hold down a steady job for poor Blondie, who went to desperate lengths to holdfast to her Johnny once more.

Want more insights on this piece? Check out my original copy in the link below!

Source: Worth a 2nd Look: Kansas City

Revisiting the Classics: Mildred Pierce

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(taken from Google images)

As limited series, The Feud: Betty V.S. Joan, draws to end on FX, Turner Classic Movies has some of Joan Crawford’s and Bette Davis’s best works available for free on demand though Xfinity.

First up is Joan Crawford’s Oscar winning performance as hard working, matronly yet tragic heroine, Mildred Pierce.

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(Taken From Google Images)

This is Crawford’s incredible depiction of an emotionally wounded, driven to the brink by struggle, mother of two, whose crumbling marriage and wayward husband causes her to strive for more than just baking sweets for her neighbors to get by.

As Mildred Pierce, Crawford ushered the way for the concept of ensuing feminism in the proceeding years with this dynamic independent lead. Mildred was a woman who stood up to her cheating husband and put him out! She struggles to get a job in the film’s storyline, but Crawford went head to head against her male costars and gave as good as she got. 

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(Taken From Google Images)

This was a revolutionary model for 1940s women, a no apologies business woman that was still able to retain her feminity. Women were normally depicted as buxom damsels in distress or doe eyed ingenues requiring the help of a tall dark stranger, in those de ja vu days. 

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(Taken From Google Images)

Mildred’s fierce ambition (at all costs) and fearless independence, saw a single mother rise from separated waitress, to scorned wealthy restaurant chain owner, all against the back drop off the coast of sunny California.

Perfect for empowering young women today, this film has a sturdy cast of strong female characters, each wanting to rise above their station in life, save the youngest, who is lost suddenly to pneumonia.

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(Taken From Google Images)

The underlying 40s messaging, (that a working woman can’t have it all, sacrifice is required, regardless of intention, and in the end, you’ll lose more than what it’s worth chasing dreams rather than facing reality), remains perfectly woven into Classic Film Noir fashion in this heart wrenching dialogue.

Soaring orchestral scores, lavish sets and top of the line fashion for the costumes makes the black and white pop as we gain a glimpse, as things were, back in time. 

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Mildred’s daughter, Vita, the epitome of the unchecked, spoiled child, also strikes out against the norm as the shameless, status-hungry villianess of this Oscar winning melodrama. 

Unable to connect with her mother’s working class pedigree/lifestyle and rotten to the core, Mildred’s desire to please her daughter’s fickle will/heart costs her relationships, her businesses and ultimately, her murderous driving force itself, Vita.

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(Taken from Google Images)

So many themes explored, Mildred Pierce stands the test of time as a lesson for all who watch this nostalgic classic. Never let your ambition get the best of you and curb materialism at its root, as it is a ravenous beast that is never satisfied.

Find Mildred Pierce on TCM on demand, in stores or online watch The Feud: Bette V.S. Joan for Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange’s breathtaking performances of the Hollywood leading ladies.

 

So, what do you think? Do you like Film Noir Classics? Whom is your favorite, Bette or Joan?

Leave me a comment and follow my blog: alynnrobi79.wordpress.com for more!

 

#blogger #bloggers #people #MildredPierce #TCM #filmnoir #joancrawford #feminism #melodrama #filmnoir #film

 

 

Beyond the Hype: Beauty Supply Stores

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Support Your Local Businesses

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TJ Beauty Depot! A safe haven for all your #teamnatural hair and beauty needs! E.O.E. they hire and promote from within the community! Their friendly, knowledgeable staff is on hand to assist you! Located off Austin Pea in Raleigh, Memphis!

Here in Memphis, I am proud to support our local Korean beauty supply stores because they are E.O.E. (Equal Opportunity Employer) establishments. TJ Beauty Depot hires from within the community they serve and often their prices beat their big box competitors for availability of highly sought after name brand products designed for naturals, and African American hair.

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Some of the most sought after lines for Naturals are on their shelves!! In some cases, below retail value!

Though they still cater to those desiring relaxers, the Korean beauty supply stores have kept up with the Natural Hair Movement and offer a wide range of essential oils, unprocessed nut butters, African black soaps and natural conditioners.

While the local grocery chains will charge an extra $2 to $3 for the convenience of stocking “ethnic” hair care products on their shelves, the TJ Beauty Depot often offers popular items, within their stores, at retail or below market value for its customers, which are predominately, African American.

The sales representatives are there to assist you with a greeting and a smile! Most often, staff includes young African American women, (knowledgeable young ladies), with experience in the beauty field, who are able to facilitate a pleasant shopping experience for you!

Aside from various types of weaves, wigs and aisles of every method of hair management imaginable, they also offer a sizeable inventory in; make up, fashion accessories, contemporary fashion looks and home salon equipment at retail or discount prices!

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Me under my hooded dryer, keeping on, over 5 years strong!

I have been more than satisfied in purchasing my beauty products from TJ Beauty Supply Depot! The hooded hair dryer I purchased over 5 years ago, still works like a dream and sets my natural styles perfectly. I am only able to find my processed, white shea butter, (an imported luxury from Sweden), at retail prices at TJ Beauty Supply Depot.

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Silky, smooth processed white shea butter, (a product imported from Sweden) I can only purchase this luxury at TJ’s Beauty Depot! 😀

If an establishment is committed to serving their community, giving back by offering competitive prices and hiring from within the community they serve, I will continue to support and patronize their business.

 

What are your thoughts? Will you support minority owned businesses? Do you support local businesses? What are the beauty supply stores like in your community? Who owns them? How has your experience been?? Are they cheaper or more expensive than other retail outlets?? Drop a comment below!

 

Like, share, comment, add, follow, donate, bitte! Danke!

#E.O.E. #minorityownedbusinesses #blogger #bloggers #naturallycurly #gels #oils #Custards #BeautySupply #TJbeautydepot #naturalhairstores #blackgirlmagic #blackgirlsrock #washday #teamnatural #naturalhaircare #haircare #Memphis #supportlocal #buylocal #sylb