Friday, September 30, 2011

Nuanced Terror: Jack Clayton's The Innocents

Light and shadow flicker across the screen. Sobs are heard as a pair of praying hands, clasping and unclasping, appear. The sobbing continues.

A woman’s suffering face appears above the tortured hands. Birds twitter…her distraught voice whispers…

All I want to do is save the children not destroy them. More than anything I love children. More than anything they need affection, love, someone who will belong to them and to whom they will belong.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Book to Movie: In a Lonely Place

A few weeks ago I took another look at Nicholas Ray’s haunting film noir, In a Lonely Place (1950). As I watched, it slowly began to rankle that the central character, Dix Steele (Humphrey Bogart), a Hollywood screenwriter with an explosive temper, is consistently touted as a great guy by most who know him. Even the ex-girlfriend whose nose he once broke remains a friend (she never pressed charges), and it's well known that he's had scrapes with the law more than once for his loutish dust-ups. His friends remain staunch even after he is named prime suspect in the killing of a young hat-check girl who was last seen with him.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Guilty Pleasures Movie Blogathon: "No down payment is the secret of prosperity..."

It’s Los Angeles in the 1950s and the GI Bill-fueled migration from city to suburb is in high gear. An opening shot of a vast (but shockingly empty) freeway system sets the scene. A gorgeous young couple in a late-model Chrysler cruises out of town. They smile as they pass billboard after billboard trumpeting newly minted middle-class subdivisions: Fairview Ranchos, Enchanted Homes, Dutch Haven, Park Village Estates and, finally, Sunrise Hills (“a better place for better living”). They exit to the hills.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Year Ago Today...

The Lady Eve's Reel Life is one year old today...and no one is more surprised by this anniversary than the lady herself. When I nervously posted my first piece on TCM's Classic Film Union blog pages about 2-1/2 years ago I didn't imagine I'd soon be contributing to a collaborative blog (The Classic Film & TV Cafe) and would, not too much later, begin a blog of my own. I never would have believed that along the way I'd get to know and interview two amazing women, one a former child actress who'd been featured in a Hitchcock classic, and the other the daughter of an iconic star of the silent era. As fulfilling as all of this has been, equally rewarding is getting to know the many classic film fans and bloggers I've met in the past few years. I received a lot of help from these new friends as I set off on my blogging adventures and want to particularly thank Rick Armstrong, who couldn't be more supportive, helpful - and patient!

At first I thought I might celebrate here by sharing links to some of my early TCM and Cafe blogs, but reconsidered. I'd rather nod in the direction of the film that inspired my online moniker, the scintillating work of brilliant and meteoric writer/director Preston Sturges -The Lady Eve (1941)...

Thanks to all who visit Reel Life, with deepest gratitude to my loyal followers!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Take 2: Irene Mayer Selznick, a Life in Three Acts

Classic Film Boy and The Lady Eve Discuss the Fascinating Irene Mayer Selznick

Welcome to Take 2, a conversation about Irene Mayer Selznick, the daughter of MGM studio head Louis B. Mayer and first wife of famed producer David O. Selznick. Both Classic Film Boy (CFB) and I (TLE) recently read A Private View, Mayer Selznick’s 1983 autobiography.We were impressed by the story of this strong woman who grew up and lived in Hollywood during its golden age and went on to become an esteemed Broadway producer in her own right. CFB invited me to discuss her life with him and, over the past month or so, we did: