Sunday Reads: Shadow Boxing 

Good Afternoon.

Like many of you, I try to find escape in things away from the daily…or should I say, hourly destruction of our Democracy.

out of the past (1947)

I can countless time looking at pictures on Pinterest. Which is what I was doing last night and early morning when I got the idea of working it into a thread.  So…take some time and enjoy the images, that comprise of movie stills, production shots, and publicity stills of various movies. I’ve picked images that create shadows, or are silhouettes of actors, some are the bright overexposed contrast of an actor’s face against the black back of the scene.

Simone Simon in a publicity still for “Cat People”

I used to remember what all the terms and phrases of these “shots” were called back in the day. The names have become out of my grasp. Yes, I know I could look them up…but that would mean having to do more research. You know what? My brain just can’t function like it used to. I would blame it on the pain pills, depression and all that but it must be something more.

 

Here are a few news items to pepper this thread.

Julie Harris as Eleanor in The Haunting, 1963

This was the highlights from SNL: I didn’t watch these yet. I bring myself to after this week’s actual press conference where Spicer pointed to the two stacks of papers as a “visual aid” for explaining the difference between the Obamacare bill and the Trumpcare bill.

 

SNL Mocks Ivanka Trump with ‘Complicit’ Fragrance Ad | Mediaite

SNL’s Trump Has Everything Under Control During an Alien Invasion | Mediaite

SNL Assures Us We’ll Be Screwed If Aliens Invade Under Trump

 

As you can see from the headlines, even SNL has to expand its storyline to a more unrealistic basis. I mean, everything else they have made fun of, in terms of the ludicrous connections and outrageous way tRump is getting away with everything…all that shit is true! And still nothing is happening. The traitor is still there.

Robert Ryan, Laraine Day– The Woman on Pier 13

Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)

Donald Trump Jr says he has ‘zero contact’ with father as he runs business | US news | The Guardian

Yeah, Right.

“M”

On to the next shit business.

 

The Seventh Seal

GOP Rep. Steve King: Millions could lose health insurance under TrumpCare, and that’s ok – AMERICAblog News

Hospitals worry about caring for newly uninsured in GOP plan | Tampa Bay Times

WaPo: “They are poor, sick and voted for Trump. What will happen to them without Obamacare?” – Balloon Juice

Now that headline reminds me of a movie:

 

 

Watch out all of you in the New England!

Rising numbers of great white sharks headed toward Cape Cod, scientists say | Environment | The Guardian

Figure rises for second consecutive year, says Massachusetts’ top shark expert, warning of ‘public safety issue’ despite no deaths in state’s waters since 1936

Oh oh…I see a pattern here.

 

Angel Heart

Can y’all believe it has been 6 years?

Six years after Fukushima, much of Japan has lost faith in nuclear power – Salon.com

Shadows in Window, 1949 (Siegfried Lauterwasser)

 

With all this going on, I think we may have found the answer to our problems.

Alfred Hitchcock’s “Sabotage”

We need to look back, if we are going backward in time…lets go backward in medicine.

The Fart Jars of 17th Century Europe | Mental Floss

When a mysterious illness is busy killing a significant percentage of the world’s population and medical knowledge is at a bit of a standstill, weird things can happen. Case in point: In the 1600s, some doctors recommended their patients fart in jars to help treat exposure to the bubonic plague.

Ivan The Terrible pt.1 (1945, Sergei Eisenstein)

Their very suspect logic went something like this: The Great Plague of London that devastated the city between 1665 and 1666 was believed to be a miasma, or a deadly air vapor spread through breathing in the atmosphere. Doctors felt that if a patient could somehow dilute the polluted air with something equally potent, it might reduce the chances of contracting the illness. So they advised their patients to have something foul-smelling at the ready.

Macbeth (1948, Orson Welles) / Cinematography by John L. Russell

To have some kind of putrid stench on standby, some homeowners retained a goat and let it stink up the place. Others took to the practice of farting into a jar and quickly sealing it, then would rush to inhale the stench when they suspected that they may have been exposed to the deadly germs.

Barbara Stanwyck & Brian Donlevy in The Great Man’s Lady (1942, dir. William A. Wellman)

While it’s unknown how many people were saved by such a method, it’s fair to assume that the likely answer is none. There is, however, no telling how those saved farts may have acted as a kind of methane placebo, calming the rattled nerves of those who were alarmed by the piles of dead bodies collecting in the streets.

Ricardo Cortez in production still from D.W. Griffith’s Faustian tale The Sorrows of Satan (1926)

The article ends with stating that of course this tip won’t save you from the bubonic plague…and that farts mean your digestive system is working. Perhaps we can start a campaign to send turds in a bottle to tRump?

Rebecca

Last two links.

Why Movies Now Look Like Colorless, Lifeless Crap

Ah..ha. I got a tie in there. Didn’t I! (Get it, turds and the headline “lifeless crap.”)

Harvey

And, finally…one of the movie stills I am featuring today:

The Big Combo

C&L’s Sat Nite Chiller Theater: The Big Combo (1955) | Crooks and Liars

So give that a looksee and see y’all later.

This is an open thread.

Lot’s more film images here:

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Sunday Goodbye Roundup : Christopher Lee

 a44cc2d13c8a1281a45bfca5c1aae78bGood Afternoon

What a man…

The last of what I consider to be a legendary connection to the true classic horror film…Christopher Lee passed away earlier this week. He was 93.

I have several obituaries to share, with some memorials from various actors, directors and friends who have written or made statements about Lee since his death was announced three days ago.

Christopher Lee dies at the age of 93 | Film | The Guardian

Sir Christopher Lee, known as the master of horror, has died at the age of 93 after being hospitalised for respiratory problems and heart failure.

His wife, the former Danish model Birgit Kroencke, decided to hold back the information for four days until all family members and friends were informed. The couple had been married for more than 50 years and had one daughter, Christina.

4e7b6fea15588248b29465fc40980c93More on Lee’s career and life in a bit but I thought this was cool:

After dabbling with music throughout much of his career, including a song on The Wicker Man soundtrack, Lee released his first full-length album Charlemagne: By the Sword and the Cross in 2010. It was well-received by the heavy metal community and won him the spirit of metal award at the 2010 Metal Hammer Golden Gods ceremony.

His 2013 single Jingle Hell entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 22, which made him the oldest living artist ever to enter the charts.

About his role as Dracula: Christopher Lee: an actor of muscular intelligence with a staggering career | Peter Bradshaw | Film | The Guardian

763fc4c8237565392bbf799c43f64d69Christopher Lee’s initial appearance in Dracula, in 1958, was a shock. Before that moment, the fabled vampire was more associated with Max Schreck’s demonic Nosferatu from the classic German silent picture — a pale creature closer to Gollum from today’s Tolkien movies. The vampire was something stunted, bestial, insidious.

But when Lee’s Count Dracula first walked down to the stairs to greet his visitors in the first Hammer movie version it was a revelation. He was tall (six foot five), handsome and well-built, with an easy athleticism and a frank, direct manner. His deep, melodious voice completed the effect: commanding. There was nothing unwholesome-looking about this vampire, not at first: he looked more like a British or at any rate Central European version of Gary Cooper. So it was even more powerful and shocking when 074fc825cf5414730eaf2c5595edfccethis patrician figure disclosed his Satanic qualities: and that face became pale and contorted, when the lips peeled back to reveal the fangs, the eyes turned red and the lips dripped with blood — and his whole being oozed with forbidden sexuality. Christopher Lee was Dracula; he had taken over the character as clearly as Sean Connery took over James Bond.

Bradshaw writes more about the Dracula role but also about The Wicker Man:

Lee’s favourite role, perhaps his greatest role, was in a movie made in this same era with obvious debts to the great vampire legend. Lee played Lord Summerisle in the horror classic The Wicker Man in 1973, written by Anthony Shaffer and directed by Robin Hardy. He was the “leader”, or 2f6018d8d1c9c35a6f75d1f3f6a1ba2achieftain, of a remote Hebridean island still in thrall to pre-Christian pagan rituals, where Edward Woodward’s pious police officer comes to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Like Dracula, Summerisle is an aristocrat, and also a big beast: a physically and vocally imperious leader who looms over everyone. He is like a human and rational version of Dracula, but every bit as sinister. The film is of course noted for the burning wicker man statue itself. Every time I see the film, that outline looks like an occult reflection of the larger-than-life figure of Summerisle — and Lee.

As for the life of Lee: Christopher Lee obituary | Film | The Guardian

Lee became an actor almost by accident. Through birth and education he seemed a more likely candidate for the diplomatic ladder, but he never reached the first rung. His father, Geoffrey, a colonel much decorated in the first world war, wrecked through gambling his marriage to Estelle, the daughter of the Italian Marquis de ea010cf68029e93f6780b9aa07bc1a5cSarzano, and a society beauty of the 1920s. Christopher was born in Belgravia, London. His education at Wellington college, Berkshire, ended abruptly at 17, and he had to get along on the pittance of a City clerk.

But the second world war might be said to have rescued him, making him an intelligence officer with an RAF squadron through north Africa and Italy. At the end, he was seconded for a period with a unit investigating war crimes. Though demobbed with the rank of lieutenant, he had suffered a psychological trauma in training and was never a pilot. In his later civilian life he was endlessly required to fly as a passenger, and it was barely a consolation to him having his film contracts stipulate that he travel first class.

Without previous aspirations or natural talent for acting, except a pleasing dark baritone voice that he exercised in song at home and abroad every day of his life, he was pushed towards film by one of his influential Italian relatives, Nicolò Carandini, then president of the Alitalia airline, who backed the suggestion with a chat to the Italian head of Two Cities Films, Filippo del Giudice. Lee was put on a seven-year contract by the Rank entertainment group, with the executive who signed it saying: “Why is 7466d3d22ce9f80da154cfd7912eef8dFilippo wasting my time with a man who is too tall to be an actor?”

His height – 6ft 4in, kept upright by his lofty temperament and fondness for playing off scratch in pro-am golf tournaments – actually proved helpful in securing him the parts for which he had the most affinity: authority figures.

[…]

He shared his aptness for sinister material with two friends who lived near his London home in a Chelsea square: the writer of occult thrillers Dennis Wheatley and the actor Boris Karloff. The latter once cheered him up when Lee was overloaded with horror roles, remarking, “Types are continually in work.”

IMG_1685Lee initially studied method acting at Rank’s “charm school”, where he was supposed to spend six months of the year in rep. But floundering at the Connaught in Worthing, and humiliated by audience laughter when he put his hand through a window supposedly made of glass, he recognised that the theatre was not his metier and never went near the stage again. Perhaps the most useful coaching Rank gave him was in swordplay: across his career he fought in more screen duels than opponents such as Errol Flynn and Douglas Fairbanks put together.

7e74190e8ef0421b63faec80c5c687ceRead the rest of the Guardian obit at the link, more on Lee….

Christopher Lee Dies at 93; Actor Breathed Life Into Nightmarish Villains – NYTimes.com

Mr. Lee was 35 when his breakthrough film, Terence Fisher’s British horror movie “The Curse of Frankenstein,” was released in 1957. He played the creature. But it was a year later, when he played the title role in Mr. Fisher’s “Dracula,” that his cinematic identity became forever associated with Bram Stoker’s noble, ravenous vampire, who in Mr. Lee’s characterization exuded a certain lascivious sex appeal.

[…]

Even in his 70s and 80s, Mr. Lee, as evil incarnate, could strike fear in the hearts of moviegoers. He played the treacherous light-saber-wielding villain Count Dooku in the “Star Wars” installments “Episode II — Attack of the Clones” (2002) and “Episode III — Revenge of the Sith” (2005). And he was the dangerously charismatic wizard Saruman, set on destroying “the world of men,” in the “Lord of the Rings” and “Hobbit” movies.

Mr. Lee could be philosophical about having been typecast. Of his roughly 250 movie and television roles, only 15 or so had been in horror films, he maintained in an interview with The New York Times in 2002. And they included at least 10 outings as Dracula (sequels included “Dracula: Prince of Darkness” in 1966 and “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” in 1973), as well as one as Frankenstein’s monster and one as the Mummy.

c670a76280449e632b81f5c6685ab14cMany of his other characters were nevertheless terrifying. He was the swashbuckling assassin Rochefort in “The Three Musketeers” (1974); the eerily manipulative title character in “Rasputin: The Mad Monk” (1966); the Bond villain Francisco Scaramanga in “The Man With the Golden Gun” (1974); a Nazi officer in Steven Spielberg’s “1941” (1979); and a mad scientist in “Gremlins II” (1990). During the 1960s, he played the title role of the Chinese criminal mastermind in five Fu Manchu movies.

But Mr. Lee also played men of quieter power. He was the dying founder of Pakistan in “Jinnah” (1998); Sherlock Holmes’s brother in Billy Wilder’s “The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes” (1970); and Prince Philip in a television film, “Charles and Diana: A Royal Love Story” (1982). He even made a western, “Hannie Caulder” (1971), with Raquel Welch, in which he played a peaceful family man.

2517c22ca07d786ff4e58c56f6a0069aYou can read more about his film list at that link.

22 Incredible Facts About The Life and Career Of Sir Christopher Lee

If Sir Christopher Lee had just been a movie star, he would still have been an icon. But the late actor, who passed away last week, had an amazing life even beyond his incredible body of work. Whether you’re still lamenting his passing or unsure why his death is such a loss, here’s 22 reasons why Christopher Lee will always be a legend.

Like this one:

7) Lee never said anything specific about his time in the SOE, but he did say this: “I’ve seen many men die right in front of me – so many in fact that I’ve become almost hardened to it. Having seen the worst that human beings can do to each other, the results of torture, mutilation and seeing someone blown to pieces by a bomb, you develop a kind of shell. But you had to. You had to. Otherwise we would never have won.” By the end of the war he’d received commendations for bravery from the British, Polish, Czech and Yugoslavia governments.

bf6a63848dea8a558f4f1e8b4a441427Lee spoke six languages and was a cousin of Bond author Ian Fleming.

Tributes…

George Lucas, Peter Jackson, Samuel L. Jackson, Ian McKellen and Kathleen Kennedy Pay Tribute to Christopher Lee – IGN

Lee’s Star Wars co-star Samuel L. Jacksontweeted, “Christopher Lee was a kind & most gracious man, that embodied the words Gentleman & Pro. I’m enriched by my time spent with him!”

Peter Jackson’s Christopher Lee tribute posts on Facebook | EW.com

Read Jackson’s full remembrance of Lee below. For more tributes to the late star, head here.

It is with tremendous sadness that I learnt of the passing of Sir Christopher Lee. He was 93 years old, had not been in his usual good health for some time, but his spirit remained, as always, indomitable.

7f33dcf3420d2617d0cf45936877119fChristopher spoke seven languages; he was in every sense, a man of the world; well versed in art, politics, literature, history and science. He was scholar, a singer, an extraordinary raconteur and of course, a marvelous actor. One of my favourite things to do whenever I came to London would be to visit with Christopher and Gitte where he would regale me for hours with stories about his extraordinary life. I loved to listen to them and he loved to tell them – they were made all the more compelling because they were true – stories from his time with the SAS, through the Second World War, to the Hammer Horror years and later, his work with Tim Burton – of which he was enormously proud.

I was lucky enough to work with Chris on five films all told and it never ceased to be a thrill to see him on set. I remember him saying on my 40th Birthday (he was 80 at the time), “You’re half the man I am”. Being half the man Christopher Lee is, is more than I could ever hope for. He was a true gentleman, in an era that no longer values gentleman.

I grew up loving Christopher Lee movies. For most of my life I was enthralled by the great iconic roles he not only created – but continued to own decades later. But somewhere along the way Christopher Lee suddenly, and magically, dissolved away and he became my friend, Chris. And I loved Chris even more.

There will never be another Christopher Lee. He has a unique place in the history of cinema and in the hearts of millions of fans around the world.

The world will be a lesser place without him in it.

My deepest sympathies to Gitte and to his family and friends.

Rest in peace, Chris.

An icon of cinema has passed into legend.

 

There is a gallery at the NYT’s link with 250 pictures of Lee in various movie/tv roles.

Pinterest Pictures:

 Christopher ❤ Tall, Dark, and Gruesome ❤

9d8811339459ebe2121392680cac4205A LIGHTER SIDE TO CHRISTOPHER LEE!

Christopher Lee – Quotes – IMDb

Movie clips: Christopher Lee: a career in clips | Film | The Guardian

For a fun take on the life of Christopher Lee…Badass of the Week: Christopher Lee

Past interviews and reviews:

Interview: Christopher Lee – Telegraph from 2011

Christopher Lee 1922-2015: an appreciation by Mark Kermode | Film | The Guardian

Christopher Lee: The real James Bond “I was… • wlmager

888b0cde02173dda74029a65af1334dcChristopher Lee: The Actor’s Secret Life in Heavy Metal | Rolling Stone

That time Christopher Lee taught Peter Jackson the sound a stabbed man makes – LA Times

According to the video, Jackson was blocking a scene in which Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) stabs Saruman (Lee) in the back. Jackson goes into a long explanation about how he wants Lee to react and Lee says, “Have you any idea what kind of noise happens when somebody’s stabbed in the back? Because I do.” Lee was a veteran of World War II. The whole rundown is embedded below along with a collection of Lee memories from his colleagues, fans and plenty of delightful Lee voice work. This man was King.

The video is chilling…go watch it.

5610dec1e2ccd737c43757510663cee7In the video…Christopher Lee: The real James Bond “I was… • wlmager

Filming a scene in Return of the King (seen only in the extended version), when Grima Wormtongue (Brad Dourif) stabs Saruman in the back on top of the tower, Christopher Lee corrected Peter Jackson on the fact that when a person is stabbed in the back of the chest, they do not scream (as the director wanted), in fact the air is pushed out of their lungs and they “groan” with an exhalation of air, very quietly, as their lungs have been punctured.

From Peter Jackson’s DVD commentary: “When I was shooting the stabbing shot with Christopher, as a director would, I was explaining to him what he should do… And he says, ‘Peter, have you ever heard the sound a man makes when he’s stabbed in the back?’ And I said, ‘Um, no.’ And he says ‘Well, I have, and I know what to do.’”

The crew said that they knew Christopher Lee had been in the British Royal Air Force Intelligence Service in World War Two, and they didn’t really push him for more information about how he knew in such detail exactly what noise a person makes when this is done to them.

cc4b137c090a6a0b74b8398045545940He wouldn’t have told them anyway.

When pressed by an eager interviewer on his SAS past, he leaned forward and whispered: “Can you keep a secret?”

“Yes!” the interviewer replied, breathless with excitement.

“So can I.” replied a smiling Lee, sitting back in his chair.

Sounds like there should be a film about Christopher Lee’s life to me!

 

TCM will be celebrating Christopher Lee in Film on June 22nd with the following films, unfortunately The Wicker Man is not on the list: TCM Remembers Christopher Lee

6:15 AM The Mummy (1959)
8:00 AM The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)
9:30 AM Horror of Dracula (1958)
11:00 AM Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966)
12:45 PM Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1969)
2:30 PM Horror Express (1972)
4:00 PM The Three Musketeers (1972)
6:00 PM The Four Musketeers (1975)

Now for a few newsy links:

ESA’s Philae comet lander wakes up after seven months of hibernation | Ars Technica

The perfect picture from the International Space Station an astronaut tried to take for 200 days – Salon.com

The perfect picture from the International Space Station an astronaut tried to take for 200 days

Rise of the mermaids: Weeki Wachee’s biggest attraction makes quite a splash | US news | The Guardian

Bulgarian ‘phantom’ at center of fake Avon bid – Business Insider

Apocalyptic scenes in Georgia’s Tbilisi as animals escape from zoo during freak flood | Daily Mail Online

Zoo Animals Roam Tbilisi After Disastrous Flood — NYMag

Jurassic Park’s VFX legacy still casts a shadow—especially for Jurassic World | Ars Technica

10 companies that are openly contemptuous of their customers – Salon.com

Tamir Rice report: witnesses contradict officer on warning to boy shot dead | US news | The Guardian

 

Let’s end with an update:

83ca1120c36579b4d702553bb81a26b8Oh Hey There’s A Shark In The Middle Of The Road, Guess The State: Your Florida Roundup | Wonkette

And We Shall End With a Nice Time!

Yr Wonkette had previously noted the story of Cameron Boland, the Florida go-getter who was all ready to be a National Honor Society something or other but then had to go whore it up by exposing her bare shoulders. (“Dirty little slut,” Jeb Bush says into the mirror, while fapping, probably.)

Well. It turns out that slut-shaming upholding basic moral principles does not in fact go over well, so the fad750d7ab2f5dc6ed7b850e4bd5b12cNational Honor Society prudes have officially reconsidered. Hooray for bare shoulders!

As we Wonksplained:

For once, and probably never again, the state of Florida is actually the source of some Nice Time! You might remember the story last week about Cameron Boland, the junior at Fort Myers High School who was stripped of her elected position as her county’s National Honor Society “Historian” — really more of a social-media/press relations job — because she gave her campaign speech wearing a sundress with excessively thin straps. (We keep seeing them described as “spaghetti straps,” but those are at least linguini straps.) Anyhow, all the negative publicity the story generated seems to have shamed the school district, or at least made it say “Oh well, what the hell,” and now the Lee County School District’s superintendent has given Cameron back the “Historian” position. Another girl who also had her NHS job taken away for being bare-shouldered has been restored to the position of NHS president for Lee County. The girls will share their positions with the students who were chosen to replace them, so that all noses may remain safely in joint.

See, good things do happen in Florida every once in a while. Usually after a healthy dose of shame.

Have a good Sunday. This is an open thread of course.