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I love this wonderfully disturbing film. I first saw it as a 3rd or 4th run at a Detroit area theater in 1960 or 1961. My mother took me to see it because she'd already discovered her preteen eldest son loved movies that make you think. On the way out to the car afterward I made sure to open the driver's door for her so I could give her a quick hug and whisper "Thanks for being normal, mom." My mother made use of that for the next 40+ years until she died, reminding me often "Don't forget least I'm a 'normal' mom." A Mother's Day film indeed.
Toggle Commented May 14, 2012 on Suddenly, It's Mother's Day at Sunset Gun
A fascinating piece. I'm sure it says something about me that, as a teenage boy in the 60's, I found Grace Kelly to be almost flawlessly beautiful, Kim Novak to be sexy as hell, yet...I was most intrigued by Tippi Hedren; it was she who inspired my randy fantasies more than the others. I do believe it's time for a Hitchcock film festival here at home. Perhaps I can conjure up those memories and remember why Tippi tipped my erotic scales.
Toggle Commented Dec 28, 2011 on Some Birds: Madeline, Melanie & Marnie at Sunset Gun
Sweet post. Thank you. I haven't seen the film yet, as I avoid the cinema experience these days, (many complaints; won't go there.) but what concerns me is not the accuracy of the screenplay or the "truth" of the plot, it's one question: Can Michelle Williams catch Marilyn in a bottle? As a 60 year old male whose love for and fascination with Marilyn Monroe only grew following her death, I want to see if anyone can capture the essence of a woman who did more than define the essence of sexuality, she did so while also displaying a sense of vulnerability... an empathy that is central to our humanity... that made her so much more appealing (to men and women alike) than a Jayne Mansfield or Rita Hayworth. I already know the story by heart; can Michelle tell it well? The success of the film will depend on the answer to that question.
Kim, This resonates with me for two reasons: 1) "It Happened One Night" remains on my list of 100 Favorite Films*, where it resides alongside other B&W classics I adore such as "The Thin Man". 2) In my teens & 20's I hitchhiked 100's of times, ranging from local rides to the store & back to cross-country trips that took days or weeks. Since my hitching days were restricted to the years from 1968-1975, when I was a young, clean cut lad of 15-22 years of age, even though I was at least vaguely aware of the dangers at hand (sorry), I felt reasonably safe riding my thumb from here to there and back again. I only remember three unpleasant experiences that were due to the circumstances of the rides I accepted. I have many unpleasant memories of hiking in general, mostly because hitching under a blazing hot sun (Arizona), in pouring rainstorms (Iowa) or the occasional blizzard (Michigan) is singularly uncomfortable when combined with the uncertainty of not knowing when you might finally see someone stop for you. My three sad memories involved sex and politics, two subjects that manage to intrude into every nook and cranny of life -- including hitchhiking. I was propositioned more than a dozen times over the years by older men, only two of whom did not accept my polite "no" for an answer. One of them shoved me out of his car in a burst of expletives, the other I escaped by jumping from the car when he stopped in traffic. (I always kept a hand on my belongings in such situations.) The last was when I was hitching from Omaha back to Detroit while on leave from the Air Force. I was in uniform and carrying my USAF duffel bag, both of which I had learned were invaluable for encouraging quick rides, and the semi I was riding in was 2/3 of the way across Iowa when I did something stupid; I argued politics with my ride, a tall fella who I believe was from Illinois, and a man who had little patience with the younger generation and our angst (this being 1974). Things came to a head with his declaration "I'll be damned! A {expletive deleted} hippie in uniform!" He was silent for some miles, then abruptly pulled over at an exit & ordered me from his truck, leaving me there at roughly 4am on a Sunday, at a lonely exit that only led to a local farm, with little traffic in sight... leading to my curling up in the scrub at the base of the hill until the sun woke me several hours later. While your sojourn in hitching was much briefer than my own, we share the same happy fate: we both came through alive and unscathed, and unlikely to ever indulge in the pastime again. Unless, of course, Claudette Colbert (or maybe Myrna Loy) should appear beside me, thumb ready, gorgeous gams available in case of need, ready to join with me and share the exhilaration of a free ride from here to there. And maybe even back again. *My 100 Favorite Films is only a title for the sake of convenience. I have no idea how many movies are on my list of favorites; I've never counted. I chose "100" because it is suitably vague, in that no one has ever demanded I list all 100 films... unlike if you refer to your Top Ten, which leads many well-meaning (and obnoxious) people to insist on you delineating them immediately.
Toggle Commented Oct 23, 2011 on The Diary of a Preteen Hitchhiker at Sunset Gun
@grendl : But Kim already HAS been on television. I assume you feel as I do: that Kim should be on much more often, and regularly. My hope is that Roger Ebert can tap Kim for a regular commentary segment that would allow her the chance to express the joy, emotions & personal response to films that excite her, just as she does above. How about it, Ms. Morgan? Would you be interested in a monthly appearance on the new "At The Movies"? I know I'd be glued to the set, even more so on those occasions you discussed noir films, one of my favorite genres. (Full disclosure: When Roger Ebert & friends return to the airwaves, I will be glued to the set even if that week's reviews consist of nothing but movies like T2-ROTF and the like.) Ahh... To dream, perchance to sleep; I dare not look before I leap.
Toggle Commented Jul 3, 2010 on Silent Snow, Savage Snow: Nightfall at Sunset Gun
Thanks for the reminder. My father took me to see Baby Doll when I was 12, against the wishes of my mother. I was, after all, his eldest child, and my father believed that his children should know as much as possible about everything. I guess it was time I learned a bit more about sex. I have seen the film twice since then (long after I was an adult), and your essay just caused me to add it to my Netflix queue... ...but I will always remember that sultry summer night when I fell in love/lust with Carol Baker. I had seen at least 30 or 40 movies by that age, and my father had not only sat me down for "the talk on becoming a man", but privately handed me a book on the differences between boys and girls that was not only handsomely illustrated, it was banned in some places. I was intellectually aware of what sex was, and had the occasional physical tinglings to support the notion. All I can remember of that night is Carol Baker. I could not take my eyes off her. She exuded something that wrapped me up, cuddled me, and excited me all at once. I stole glances at my father during moments when Carol was not onscreen; he seemed very calm and passionless. When we left the theater, on the way to the car, me quite bemused and very conscious of my excitement (mental and physical), I sought to cover my embarrassment. "That was really something, wasn't it, Dad?", I said quite truthfully. He replied, "Yes. Yes, she was." Even at 12, his meaning didn't escape me. We drove home in comfortable silence, our fantasies our own.
Toggle Commented May 29, 2010 on Hapy Birthday Baby Doll Carroll Baker at Sunset Gun
Norma Jean was a complex human being, capable of complex performances, of which "Don't Bother to Knock" was certainly an excellent example. I don't blame critics of her era for not being able to distinguish her performances; they were as blinded by her looks as most others were (and are). Those of us who view her roles through a distance-lens of time and generation are not so easily blinkered. Marilyn Monroe was a product of her generation, and a victim of the sane. I admire her talent, and begrudge the era that stifled it.
Toggle Commented Apr 21, 2010 on Widmark Knocked, Monroe Answered at Sunset Gun
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Apr 20, 2010