“Suddenly I could see the whole thing – the tragic sweep of the great novel, beautifully proportioned. But before I could really grab it and throw it down on paper, the drink would wear off and everything be gone like a mirage.” – Don Birnam in The Lost Weekend (1944)
The Book and the Film: The 70th Anniversary of Charles R. Jackson’s ‘The Lost Weekend’ on Blogcritics.
Thursday, September 11, 2014
Wednesday, September 10, 2014
Ray Milland video: A video featuring stills and pictures of Ray Milland and his co-stars: Claudette Colbert, Jean Arthur, Doris Dowling, Jane Wyman, Audrey Totter, Jean Peters, Constance Moore, Lana Turner, Rita Johnson, Paulette Goddard, Anna Neagle, Ellen Drew, Elsa Lanchester, Olympe Bradna, Ann Todd, Dorothy Lamour, Marjorie Reynolds, Maureen O'Sullivan, Jan Sterling, Veronica Lake, Frances Farmer, Ginger Rogers, Patricia Roc, Ruth Hussey, Gail Russell, Joan Fontaine, Teresa Wright, Loretta Young, Barbara Stanwyck, Grace Kelly, Hedy Lamarr, Barbara Britton, Florence Marley, Charles Laughton, Heather Angel, Steffi Sidney, Barbara Read, Rita Gam, Marlene Dietrich, Mary Beth Hughes, Gene Tierney, Susan Hayward, Patricia Morrison, John Hodiak, Sally Eilers, Wendy Barrie, Maureen O'Hara, Isa Miranda, Sonja Henie, Olivia De Havilland, Margaret Hayes, Ray Milland's wife Muriel Webb, etc.
Friday, September 05, 2014
The Grace Kelly Collection features Mogambo (1953), The Country Girl (1954), The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1954), Dial M for Murder (1954), To Catch a Thief (1955) and Kelly’s last film High Society (1956). This collection also includes the 'Princess Grace de Monaco: A Moment in Time' documentary/interview, as well as numerous other bonus features, including documentaries about the two included Alfred Hitchcock films, radio spots for High Society, a Droopy cartoon from MGM, a documentary about Edith Head’s Paramount Years, special commentaries and trailers for all six films.
While Kelly’s career didn’t last as long as many other starlets, there’s no question she left a vivid mark on Hollywood. It’s certainly easy to see why Kelly was one of Hitchcock’s favorite actresses to direct, as well as one of Edith Head’s favorites to dress. Source: cliqueclack.com
“It was very serious between Ray and Grace,” [Grace's sister] Lizanne recalls. "They began to see each other, making little effort to conceal their romance." “I was aware of it,” Mel Dellar (Dial M for Murder's assistant director) says. “My wife and I saw them out having dinner a couple of times, and late in the evening, after we finished filming, they’d go to some little place and have a few drinks.” Milland surprised Lizanne one day by confiding the depth of his feelings for Grace. “I flew back from Hollywood on the same plane with him,” she recalls, “and we had a long talk. He told me he really was very much in love with her.” The Millands separated; Grace and Ray discussed marriage. He took an apartment in Hollywood and Grace spent a great deal of time there. Teet Carle, a publicist at Paramount at the time, says, “I don’t know if they were living together, but the story got back to me that someone from the studio went over to Ray’s apartment and Grace answered the door.”
Studio publicist Andy Hervey recalls that Mrs. Milland had an ace up her sleeve: “Mal told Ray, ‘You go ahead and get a divorce and marry Grace Kelly. That’s okay with me, because all the property is in my name.’ Needless to say, it wasn’t long before the marriage plans were off.” The previously quoted friend of the Millands adds, “Jack finally came to his senses and realized that he had a wonderful woman in Mal. Mal referred to the Grace Kelly period as ‘those agonizing days.’” In its colorful style, Confidential magazine detailed Ray’s infatuation with Grace and the domestic discord it caused: “After one look at Gracie he went into a tailspin that reverberated from Perino’s to Ciro’s. The whole town soon hee-hawed over the news that suave Milland, who had a wife and family at home, was ga-ga over Grace. Ray pursued her ardently and Hollywood cackled. Then mama Milland found out. She lowered the boom on Ramblin’ Ray and there followed one of the loudest, most tearful fights their Beverly Hills neighbors can remember.” -"Grace Kelly: The Secret Life of a Princess" (2012) by James Spada
“Ray Milland is only sheer heaven,” Grace Kelly wrote. As a teenager, back in Philadelphia, she had swooned over Milland in 'The Lost Weekend.' Now she was costarring with him. And what greater triumph for her than to seduce the hero of her teenage years and to make him her own? There was only one problem. Ray Milland had been married for thirty years, and he and his wife, Muriel —known to friends as “Mal”— had a son Daniel born in 1940 and a daughter, Victoria, adopted in 1949.
Ray Milland was twenty-four years older than Grace, suave, sophisticated, and an inveterate seducer of young actresses. “You had to run past ‘Jack’ Milland’s dressing room or else,” remembered actress Pat Medina, who went on to marry 'The Third Man' actor Joseph Cotten. With Grace, however, Milland was every inch the gentleman, urbane and charming. Grace was in love with him within days of first meeting him. Years later, she insisted to Gwen Robyns that at the time of her affair with Milland, she genuinely believed that he was separated from his wife. Soon Ray Milland was squiring Grace all over Hollywood. Ultimately, the salacious gossip magazine Confidential exposed Milland’s illicit affair with Grace, whereupon he and his wife separated, and Grace was branded a home wrecker.
Muriel “Mal” Milland, one of the most popular Hollywood wives, quickly marshaled the support of all her friends, including powerful columnist Hedda Hopper. “Mal was in a desperate situation,” remembered Doreen Hawkins, the widow of 'Bridge on the River Kwai' actor Jack Hawkins. “She and Ray had had a long marriage and they’d been through a lot together. So everyone was on her side and against Grace. Soon after, Grace gave a Hollywood press interview in which she virtually begged the town for forgiveness.”
“I think Grace probably wanted to go on with her career and knew she couldn’t if she carried on with Ray. She said she was ashamed,” recalled Pat Medina Cotten. “She made a public statement, ‘I have done the most terrible thing. I have fallen in love with a married man. And I am distraught. I never want to do anything like that again.’
Arlene Dahl, however, has another interpretation of the Milland affair: “The Ray Millands were very good friends of mine. Mal hated Grace like poison. Grace didn’t know he was married? Oh, please. Everyone knew he was married. He was one of the most married film stars in Hollywood. Mal was very jealous and they had been married for years and years. I made a film with Ray. Everybody knew he was married.”
Hollywood siren Hedy Lamarr also lambasted Grace Kelly for her promiscuity. “Hedy told me Grace slept around,” her friend Arlene Roxbury said. “Hedy said Grace would sleep with anyone in Hollywood to get ahead. Hedy said that was a known fact, actors, directors, producers, Grace would sleep with them at the drop of a hat.” -"True Grace: The Life and Times of an American Princess" (ekindle, 2014) by Wendy Leigh
"Ann Sothern's Secret: She Blew the Whistle on Grace Kelly and Ray Milland": The Globe. November 17, 1987. Ann Sothern confessed that she sent Grace Kelly an annonymous letter, urging Grace to stop her affair with Ray Milland in 1953. Because Ray's wife, Mal, was Ann's best friend, Ann did not want to see her hurt. Ann said that the affair ended shortly after she sent the letter, and Ray went back to his wife. -"Ann Sothern: A Bio-Bibliography" by Margie Schultz
Thursday, September 04, 2014
A masterpiece of Poverty Row, Roger Ebert called this film "the guilty soul of film noir." Detour is that rare film whose brevity somehow communicates a tome's worth of ideas and themes. The staging is bare-bones —Ulmer used a total of four sets (three interior, one exterior) and used stock footage and rear projection for everything else— and the narrative is stripped to virtually nothing, so all that exists is a creeping, paranoid mood and deep sense of alienation. How Ulmer achieved so much with so little is something of a marvel, but credit the milieu's deliberate artificiality and the unconventional, oddly stilted performances. This is one of very few films rightly described as a "fever dream." Source: www.chicagoreader.com
He takes a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and shakes one out, lights it. As he puts the match in the ashtray, his eyes fall on that jigger of whiskey. It's hard to resist it any longer. He takes a handkerchief from his pocket, wipes his forehead, then his parched mouth. The time has come now. He puts the handkerchief back in his pocket, lifts the glass and drains it in one gulp. Actually, Don doesn't like the taste of liquor, actively hates it indeed, as a one-legged man might hate the sight of his crutches but need them in order to walk.
Gloria is back from the powder room. On her way to her gentleman friend at the table, she runs her finger through the neckline of Don's hair. She is almost past him when he catches her hand and pulls her towards him. DON: Shall we dance? GLORIA: You're awfully pretty, Mr. Birnam. DON: You say that to all the boys. GLORIA: Why, natch. Only with you it's on the level.
DON: That's my novel, Nat. I wanted to start writing it out in the country. Morbid stuff. Nothing for the Book-of-the Month Club. A horror story. The confessions of a booze addict, the log book of an alcoholic. (Holding out the jigger) Love's the hardest thing in the world to write about. So simple. You've got to catch it through details, like the early morning sunlight hitting the gray tin of the ashcans in front of her house. A ringing telephone that sounds like Beethoven's Pastoral. A letter scribbled on her office stationery that you carry in your pocket because it smells of all the lilacs in Ohio.
-extracts from "The Lost Weekend" (1945) script by Charles Brackett and Billy Wilder, based on the novel "The Lost Weekend" (1944) by Charles R. Jackson.
Monday, September 01, 2014
Don Birnam (Ray Milland), long-time alcoholic, has been "on the wagon" for ten days and seems to be over the worst; but his craving has just become more insidious. Evading a country weekend planned by his brother Wick (Phillip Terry) and girlfriend Helen (Jane Wyman), he begins a four-day bender. In flashbacks we see past events, all gone wrong because of the bottle. But this bout looks like being his last... one way or the other.