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Vera Cruz … Sarita Montiel / Diva Supremo

27 Nov

Excerpt from Internet Movie Database:
http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0600060/bio

“It is quite impossible to cover here all the awards Sara Montiel has won in her long successful career but we must mention the “Premio del Sindicato” (at that time Spain’s equivalent of the Oscar) for best actress, won two years in a row for her performances in “El Último Cuplé” and “La Violetera”. In 1972 she was proclaimed an honorary citizen of Los Angeles by Mayor Sam Yorty and was given the gold key to the city. Similarly she has been awarded the gold keys of New York, Miami and Chicago. In 1981 she received Israel’s most prestigious honor, the Ben Guiron Award and in 1983 she was awarded France’s Legion of Honor medal, after a retrospective of her career ran at the Autumn Film Festival in Paris. In 1986 “Nosotros”, a Hollywood-based Hispanic actors advocacy organization founded by Ricardo Montalban, gave her its Golden Eagle Award for life achievement. The trophy was presented to Sarita by her “Vera Cruz” costar-producer Burt Lancaster in an emotional reunion that triggered a standing ovation from all their Hollywood peers witnessing the event. In 1997 she was awarded the “Gold Medal“, also a life achievement recognition, given–rarely–by Spain’s Academy of Arts and Sciences. The two-hour ceremony was beamed live by national television. In 2008 Sara returned to her hometown to unveil a sculpture with her image at the new Sara Montiel Park. A nearby avenue was also named after her and there was at the same time a dedication ceremony of her newly renovated museum, located inside a 16th-century windmill. In addition, the government placed a commemorative plaque on the house where she was born.”

Not counting compilatons or singles, Montiel has also enjoyed a very successful recording career with approximately 30 albums to her credit.
http://infomontiel.tripod.com/id17.htm

Vera Cruz – Burt, Coop, Sarita

Vera Cruz – Sarita Montiel 1

Vera Cruz – Sarita Montiel 2

Vera Cruz – Sarita Montiel 4

Vera Cruz – Sarita Montiel 5

Vera Cruz – Sarita Montiel 6

Vera Cruz … Burt pitches … Coop catches

12 Nov

The Power of Projection

‘Projection’ they call it. Some actors have it. Most never will. It’s the ability to take a simple line of dialogue and make it sing; have impact; the knack of making a whisper into a shout. All the great Shakespearean actors have it: Olivier, Burton, Dench, Jacobi, O’Toole …

YET … out of the unwashed West emerged several notable thespians who entered the stage via a different door: Hollywood.

Among them was Burt Lancaster

Watch Burt in this famous clip from The Unforgiven: (1961)
http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/317447/Unforgiven-The-Movie-Clip-How-Much-Woman-Worth-.html 4:59

Sign language scene – The Unforgiven

How many actors could pull that off?

Vera Cruz: Burt Pitches – Coop Catches

Vera Cruz also has some inspired dialogue: ‘one-liners’, verbal sparring, quotes – delivered by two masters: Cooper and Lancaster.

Coop meets Burt:

Coop meets Burt

Clip: http://www.tcm.com/mediaroom/video/274874/Vera-Cruz-Movie-Clip-You-An-American-.html

Coop meets Burt’s Gang: “Follow him boys. We was leaving anyways”

Burt straightens things out: “Anybody else string with Charlie?”

Tell me I’m wrong, but damned if that doesn’t look like a very young George Kennedy (uncredited) standing just to Charlie’s right.

Burt sums things up: “Looks like we tied up with the wrong outfit.”

Vera Cruz …

9 Nov

Poster? what poster?

VERA CRUZ Banner

VERA CRUZ Posters

Cooper enters the Hall …

17 Aug

Gary Cooper Inducted:
MFW Cowboy Hall of Fame

“The general consensus seems to be that I don’t act at all.”

Gary Cooper Western Filmography

The Virginian 1929 / Fighting Caravans 1931 / The Plainsman 1936 /
The Cowboy and the Lady 1938 / Northwest Mounted Police 1940 /
The Westerner 1940 / Along Came Jones 1945 / Distant Drums 1951 /
Springfield Rifle 1952 / High Noon 1952 / Garden of Evil 1954 /
Vera Cruz 1954 / Man of the West 1958 / Alias Jesse James 1959 /
They Came To Cordura 1959 / The Hanging Tree 1959

Mindless Westerns ? and High Noon …

3 Aug

High Noon and Politics

As a kid watching High Noon, it never dawned on me that there was anything going on ‘behind the scenes’. Lost in the wonder of an epic and heroic tale, I didn’t see it’s (and many Westerns) very strong social and political messages:

Commentaries on the politics behind High Noon:

High Noon, What Happens: Posted by Brent Allard Wednesday, March 28, 2012  http://criminalmovies.blogspot.ca/2012_03_01_archive.html:
“John Wayne (a HUAC supporter – House Un-American Activities Committee) called High Noon Un-American for it’s portrayal of the townspeople and Will Kane’s seeking help and throwing the badge in the dirt. He teamed with Howard Hawks (who called Will Kane “unprofessional”) to make Rio Bravo as a response to the film. In Rio Bravo, Wayne plays a Sheriff who with the help of a only a drunk, a kid, and a crippled man, have to prevent a gang from breaking one of their members out of jail. Wayne’s larger than life enthusiasm, is certainly a sharp contrast to Cooper’s haunted Marshal. Though both films are worth viewing, I find it difficult to side with Wayne’s optimism, although it is a pleasant diversion. Certainly to this day we have arguments about HUAC, but the beauty of western morality plays and film in general is that a good story can transcend the specific events that inspired it. High Noon is a parable for any times, including our own current extremely polarized ones. It’s difficult to live your own life, and its easy to find a justification for any moral position you can think of, or find an opinion from someone else, but ultimately the question it asks is whether or not you can live up to your own code, no matter what it costs, even if no one in the world will stand with you.”

Also this:

Emanuel Levy: “High Noon: McCarthy and Politics” – http://www.emanuellevy.com/popculture/high-noon-mccarthy-and-politics-9/

“…No matter what perspective one takes, there’s no doubt that High Noon deals with such issues as civic responsibility, active involvement in social causes, and heroic behavior during crises–all problems loaded with political overtones in the early 1950s.  Its cynical commentary on the masses’ fear of involvement in controversial issues proved to be prophetic during McCarthy’s political witch hunting.  Arguing that people should have nothing but contempt for the cowardice of ordinary folks, the film also spoke for the necessity of joint action, if enemies are to be defeated … “

MFW: I admit that I am not a John Wayne fan. I acknowledge his undeniable onscreen charisma and that he is among the greatest movie stars of all time. I also acknowledge that he made some important and iconic Westerns. Yet I disliked him as a person and disrespected his politics. I found his ‘over the top’ super patriotism and ‘my country right or wrong’ flag waving to be very distasteful – and dangerous. I also disrespected that he refused to fight in WWII – then became a super patriot out of guilt (as one of his former wives stated). Further, Rio Bravo’s response to High Noon (by Wayne and Hawkes) is very weak. It’s ‘a John Wayne movie’. As a Western it has it’s moments – and a great cast (Wayne, Brennan, Martin, Nelson …) but as a political statement it’s pure hokum. It will not make My Favorite Westerns.

YET … as noted, if we can throw politics to the side, it’s interesting that both films still stand up and are obviously enjoyed without any political notions whatsoever.

Bravo to that … if not Rio.

Cropped screenshot of John Wayne and Angie Dic...

Cropped screenshot of John Wayne and Angie Dickinson from the trailer for the film Rio Bravo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Iconic Images: High Noon revisited …

2 Aug

Music: Original Soundtrack: Do Not Forsake Me – Tex Ritter 

Video Clip: High Noon Intro …
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QKLvKZ6nIiA&feature=related

Lancaster as Earp – the ‘Grin’ and the Grim

16 Jul
MFW LANCASTER THE GRIN

LANCASTER in ‘VERA CRUZ’  and “GUNFIGHT AT THE OK CORRAL’

In rebuilding my ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral‘ page I got to thinking about Lancaster’s portrayal of Wyatt Earp. In earlier films Lancaster had become famous for his trademark smile – which he is said to have referred to as “the grin” – most obvious in ‘Vera Cruz’ (one of My Favorite Westerns). Therefore his stoic and stern portrayal of Wyatt Earp in ‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’ is a stark and deliberate contrast. Was Earp really like this? Because this same humorless image of Earp is carried on through most of the other popular Earp Films: ‘Hour of the Gun‘; ‘Tomestone’ and ‘Wyatt Earp’. Only Henry Fonda‘s portrait of Earp in ‘My Darling Clementine‘ (1946) seems to put a more human face on Earp. Director John Sturges (‘Gunfight at the OK Corral’) continued with this strict image of Earp in ‘Hour of the Gun’ (1968) which starred James Garner as Earp. Garner’s ruthless portrayal of Earp is even more striking because of Garner’s usual soft and often comedic persona from the ‘Maverick’ TV series. It is safe to say however, that Sturges wasn’t very concerned with a historical portrayal of Earp (Lancaster doesn’t even sport a mustache) or the gunfight at the OK Corral. But it seems ironic that the film that makes the greatest effort to paint a historical document of Earp (Lawrence Kasdan‘s ‘Wyatt Earp’ starring Kevin Costner as Earp) is probably the least popular of five films.

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