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Posts tagged ‘Kim Novak’

“Hitchcock” Rules the Oscar Race He Never Won in Lifetime! And Helen Mirren as His Unsung Wife Alma WOWOWOW!

I have to declare that “Hitchcock” which I saw last night is now a leading contender in the Oscar Race! Cra-zee about it!

I haven’t enjoyed a movie so much in YEARS! LOVED LOVED LOVED IT! And Dame Helen Mirren could really win herself a second Oscar for playing Alma Reville Hitchcock, a woman whose little-known story, has fascinated me  for YEARS, as much as Hitchcock himself

I watch at least ONE Hitchcock movie a week! I HAVE to! I just watched, then re-watched with commentary “Vertigo” this weekend! In “Hitchock” Sir Anthony Hopkins was a joy to behold and absolutely indelible as the Master Himself.

I was ENTHRALLED by the great Hitch and Alma’s life-long  love story and by the actors’ great tennis game of playing off each other so magnificently. Acting Royalty showing the reason why they were knighted and damed, respectively. I’m on SUCH a high from this delightful, droll movie and “Hitchcock” totally establishes Alma Reville as a historic film presence in her own right. AT LAST! I thought this was a wonderful tribute to a woman whose contribution to world cinema as been overlooked. Until NOW. WOWOWOW!

Alma Reville,, in her lifetime, also was a woman who has beloved by all who met her. Everybody behind-the-scenes, in “the biz” knew who she was and the contribution she made to all her husband’s films. And they had nothing but respect and admiration for her. Read her daughter Pat’s “Alma Hitchcock, The Woman Behind the Man.”

Arguably, Hitch couldn’t have done what he did without her. And this film delightfully, but firmly shows that. It plants Alma firmly in the Cinema Pantheon of Greats, great editor, great screen-writer, great co-producer. great force of nature, and Dame Helen Mirren embodies all that intelligence and quiet power, and sex appeal, too, in a role that will surely get her nominated for Best Actress and may even win her her second Oscar. Her first was for “The Queen” a few years back.

Mirren embodies all those small moments of caring and support and chagrin, as well as the big ones of fury and resentment. And there’s definitely an Oscar Night excerpt scene.  The “fight” scene, which got applause tonight, in an audience of (usually)unresponsive critics! Where Alma unbottles and throttles Hitchcock within an inch of his rotond  life.

And Sir Anthony Hopkins was perfection, too! I think they will both be nominated and the Academy is going to Love,Love, Love this movie and maybe give the Hitchcocks their belated Oscar due. I’m serious! What a great holiday treat from Fox Searchlight! And how thankful am I as a movie goer and critic and Oscarologist that Searchlight DID plunk it right in the middle of the Oscar race! RIGHT WHERE IT DESERVES TO BE! This was the surprise last-minute entry into the “Derby” as Tom O’Neil calls it. Or rather the Oscar season, to be more precise. Tom’s at www.goldderby.com, of course.

I can’t wait to shout it from the housetops!  And I’m shouting it now! I LOVED THIS MOVIE! And Scarlett Johansson! She’s JUST like Janet Leigh herself! I thought I WAS watching Janet Leigh, the pro’s pro, interact with all of the above. Problem with that role is that J.Leigh was a evidently a very circumspect, tight-lipped lady in person, evidently, so this undemonstrative role doesn’t really allow ScarJo to cut loose except in the infamous shower scene, which is re-acted quite vividly and frighteningly here.

And “Hitchcock” is very, very funny too. Hitchcock on John Gavin, “Psycho” s leading man, “He’s as expressive as piece of plywood.”  And “Just call me Hitch. And hold the cock.”

And there’s many, many more droll Hollywood quotes that were zinging by so fast, I can barely remember them. Let alone recount them all here.

And up-and-coming British actor James D’Arcy is great, too as Anthony Perkins. Who of course plays Norman Bates in “Psycho.”

He, who recently played umpteen roles in “Cloud Atlas” and was the Duke of Windsor in  Madonna’s “W/E,” just nails Perkins into the gound and so does Raplh Macchio, who has all of three minutes, or less to make an impression of “Psycho” screen-writer Joseph Stefano.

Jessica Biel has the easier role of resentful Hitchcock cast-off Vera Miles. She, who got pregnant, just at the start of “Vertigo”, and was famously replaced by Kim Novak And the rest is history. Hitchcock never get over that snub. As he never got over Ingrid Bergman forsaking him for Europe  and Roberto Rossilini and Grace Kelly for becoming HRH Princess Grace of Monaco.

“Vertigo” is now considered the Number One film of all time. Beating “Citizen Kane” this year in “Sight and Sound”s tally of the Greatest Film of All Time. Clearyly Kim Novak was the right choice for that role and gave the greatest performance of her career in it.

Hitchcock won again, but he was still bitter.

Someone notes that the role of Janet Leigh’s sister (Vera Miles) in “Psycho” is a “thankless” one, and Hitchcock retorts, “A thankless role for a thankless girl.”

Buried under what seems like literally tons of make-up and a sixty-pound fat suit, Sir Anthony Hopkins acts through the layers of latex and padding and it just seems to become HIM. Hitchcock.

Based on Stephen Rabello’s book “Hitchcock and the Making of ‘Psycho'”, the classic film is here a back-drop to Hitch’s love affair with his, until now, unknown wife. Hitch is 60. And so is Alma.

And he’s longing for a “return” to his former creative powers that he has begun to feel are dimming with time. He wants to do a low-budget slasher film, which is what “Psycho” was first perceived as, and nobody wants to fund it, so he has to do it himself.

He mortgages his house and pool, without even consulting Alma. Something I don’t think Hitch would ever have done IRL. True, he did have to mortage his house. And bascially financed “Psycho” himself. But he would, in real life, have asked Alma first. And she clearly said “Yes. Do it.” He never did anything without her say-so.

Lew Wasserman (his agent) here portrayed quite cannily by the great stage actor & Tony Winner Michael Stuhlbarg(who is also in “Lincoln.” I’ll review that in two days)gets him a great deal and the happy ending is in real life “Psycho” made millions. And garnered Janet Leigh a supporting actress nomination and Hitchcock another best director nod. But neither won.

How ironic it would be if Dame Helen Mirren won an Oscar for playing his wife or that Sir Anthony Hopkins did for playing Hitch himself. The Academy is going to love this film. It could even get into Best Picture!

Meanwhile, the only suspense YOU’LL feel, is “When am I going to see this great, fun movie?” It opens Thansgiving Day! It was SUCH a luxuriant experience I can’t wait to see it again!

“Vertigo” One of Hitchcock’s Best & Now Best Film of All Time

I just HAVE to write more about “Vertigo”s great ascendance to being named “The Best Film of All Time” by the British film mag “Sight and Sound.”

I first saw “Vertigo” in college. At a special stand-alone screening. That was introduced by a film “expert,” a professorial type, who made sure everyone got “notes.” It was like he was TEACHING this film. This I thought was ludicrous. Since when did they TEACH movies? Movies were just something you went to and enjoyed or not enjoyed. That was it.

Yes, that shows you how long ago this was. Back, waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back before the dawn of film schools. It was my first film lecture. And I was eager to go, because it was a Hitchcock film that was new to me, that I had never even heard of.

And this eager older gentlemen seemed so earnest in his presentation, I remember. It was like we HAD to understand “Vertigo” HIS way.It was a “Very special film” and it “was not received well by critics when it first opened.”

And I remember he laid special emphasis on the scene in the bookshop where James Stewart and Barbara Bel Geddes went to find out about the history of Carlotta  Valdez, the mystery woman from the past, whose portrait Kim Novak’s character, Madelyn, keeps returning to gaze at, at a museum.

This guest lecturer, who was brought in from elsewhere, and who was NOT a teacher at my school, wanted us to particularly note how increasingly DARK that scene became, as the bookstore-keeper who reveled in San Fransisco history, kept talking and talking about just how tragic Carlotta Valdez’ life was. And the darkening room lighting, when it was not dark at all outside,( It was the middle of the afternoon. Out the window you could see bright sunshine),was Hitchcock’s way of ominously emphasizing how dark the film was going to get. And of course, it did.

He wanted us also to notice how Midge, the Bel Geddes character, was always surrounded by light. indicating mental and physical health and common sense. This meant(I can’t believe I remember all this!) that she, Midge, was the one we were supposed to listen to.  And Stewart and Novak, of course, were not, and they were often enveloped in fog.

I think it was unequivocally both Stewart’s and Novak’s career-best performances.

I remember that lecture situation to this day.It was such an anomaly back then. To see a film, as a subject for a lecture. It was treated as a Special Event, and it was shown at night. It was not part of my theater curriculum.

I guess it made a lasting impression, remembering it all these years later. I guess I was a cinephile even then. I didn’t know that but I knew I always loved Alfred Hitchcock’s scary movies.

And I remember that it was the first time I had ever seen “Vertigo.” And so when the climatic turn of events began to unfurl, and the TWO dives off the Spanish mission, San Juan Bautista’s bell tower occurred. I was utterly shocked and screamed bloody murder. Especially at the end. For those two of you who have never seen it, I’m not going to reveal it here.

But I guess suffice it to say, that that incredible short scene that ends the film is like being scared to death by nuns.

In one of the interviews which I started to look up last night on You Tube on Hitchcock, it was revealed that Hitchcock was taught by Jesuits. So he must have been Catholic. Something I did not know, and something that is barely mentioned in the immense amount of scholarly film criticism that has been heaped upon him and his ouevre and rightly so, since then.

And since I came to that first screening of “Vertigo” back at URI, the University of Rhode Island, where I had the misfortune to be an undergraduate in THEATRE(but that’s ANOTHER story) I remember how profoundly moved and shaken and absolutely scared to death I was by that double-twist ending.

I remember feeling just awful for Kim Novak’s character, Judy. And for James Stewart, too.

In his famous interviews with Francois Truffaut, of which there are podcasts available online somewhere…or there WERE…I remember Hitchcock not wanting to talk about “Vertigo.” I think he said something like “Mistake! Mistake! The film didn’t work!” and Truffaut asked in French through the translator “Why?” and Hitchcock said “The man was too old.” Meaning James Stewart, the policeman who had to retire because he had vertigo. Hence the title.

How wrong Hitchcock was!

“The Artist” Wins Best Picture & Director at BFCA! Also Best SCORE & Costumes!!

I have to say that watching the Broadcast Film Critics Awards tonight was like reading a RRREALLY long book that you wanted to put down, but some how couldn’t, then SUDDENLY a surprise happy ending! And you just LOVE the way things turned out, but you still wish you didn’t have to read the whole book.

At the VERY end of the evening, Michel Hazanavicius won Best Director! Then, he did and made an utterly charming, funny speech, I knew “The Artist” was going to win Best Picture! And then it did! And as Michel called his entire table up on to the stage, the show ended.:( But “The Artist” did win more awards than any other film tonight four. BP, Director, Best SCORE(Take THAT! Kim Novak!) and Best Costumes!

I wish Jean Dujardin had won Best Actor instead of George Clooney, who seemed incredibly smug and entitled. He tried to out-do Viola Davis in terms of a hardscrabble background “I-Come-From-A-Sharecropping-Grandfather” & even more embarrassing “My-mother-used-to-make-my-clothes. “Ick.

It was the only award “The Descendants” won. Shailene Woodley lost TWICE. Once for Best Young Actor/Actress and then also for Supporting Actress, bad news for her Oscar nom. chance. The award for Best Young Actor  went to Thomas Horn, that little boy from “Extremely…” who called it by the Internet abbrev. of its’ initials ELAIC. ” E=Lake” or something like that. This was one of the few real surprises of the night.

I swear they all must’ve known Clooney was going to win because they seemed to keep cutting to him all evening. And he presented their humanitarian award to Sean Penn, who actually was IN Haiti. They spoke via satellite, and again Penn and Haiti completely upstaged and outclassed him.

George was acting like he had won already and was hosting a night club act somewhere.

And I’m a FAN! He’s been on my show! But no, George this was not your finest hour.

Doing really well earlier in the evening was Christopher Plummer who won as we alllll knew he would for “Beginners.” Every other joke he said was funny. But given that he’s 82, we all should look so good. And he seemed like he was in his 60s. Not his age at all.

They kept showing Michelle Williams in shadow. Uh-oh. Not good, I thought. And Meryl and Harvey Weinstein were seen smiling and joking. Meryl was enjoying herself more than I’d ever seen her do at one of these events in YEARS

“The Help” won BIG with three awards, behind “The Artist” which had four who besides Best Picture and Director won Best Costumes& Best Score. Those last two awards were given out BEFORE air-time.

“The Help” won Best Supp. Actress, Best Actress and Best Ensemble. Which allowed Octavia Spenser to make TWO speeches! So she had a “do-over” she called it. Which was funny.

She had the most strange look on her face when she won. It wasn’t happy. More chagrined. Like “Oh no! NOW what do I do?”  She totally didn’t expect, and neither did I. contrary to what Stu Vanairsdale was saying week after week on his Oscar Index. He always had Octavia at #1 all season long. Ditto Christopher Plummer for “Beginners.” But he had “The Artist” & Michel Hazanaviscius all season, too. So kudos to Stu! 4 1/2 out of 6 isn’t bad.

But he was wrong about Jean Dujardin winning 😦 It was annoying GEORGE.

And also only this week did Stu, on his great Oscar Index at www.movieline.com , have Meryl and Viola TYING for “Best Actress.”

And in a very, very red dress, Viola Davis DID give a very affecting speech. And she looked very shocked when she won.

But it wasn’t a tie. And let’s face, “The Help” is a film that the BFCA loved, they really loved. And “Iron Lady” is a critical disaster except for Meryl’s performance….But Meryl immediately stood up when Viola won. And applauded her enthusiastically. Classy. Something it seemed the rest of the room, except “The Help”s table, was not doing.

But nightmare of nightmares that EW cover of last week came true tonight! But will it continue? George & Viola. Will it continue? I wonder….

“Hugo” got nothing. But Martin Scorcese did recieve a quasi life-time achievement award called, strangely, “Film + Music.” I guess that’s the consolation prize of the evening.

“Bridesmaid” won for Best Comedy, then, an entire troup of MEN, ascended the stage and this was supposed to be the big break-through FEMALE movie and it was all men! Embarassing Embarrassing. And Judd Apatow, who was the producer, accepting and every other word had to be bleeped. Which I guess was funny, kinda.

And then he had to be reminded to thank the two female writers…Kristen Wiig and her writing partner. HE NEARLY FORGOT TO MENTION THEM! Was he more embarrassing than George Clooney? No, Clooney was more.

And they had two dreadful comic hosting this always-tacky, subpar presentation. Where is Ricky Gervais when you really need him?

Well, he’ll be there on Sunday, hosting the Golden Globes who I HOPE do not just repeat the four winners we had tonight. Clooney, Davis, Plummer & Spenser in a quartet lock-step, which is what has happened for the past two years.

So in a sense, we’ve already seen this year’s winners(I hope not) and so now the excitement goes out of the Oscar Balloon, and we’ll all be bored to death by the time the Oscars roll around.

Oh Golden Globes! I hope you do something different on Sunday and not just award the same four people!

Well, there’s the musical/comedy category which Jean Dujardin for Best Actor for “The Artist” should triumph in. And Michelle Williams will win Best Actress in a Musical or a Comedy. For sure. Harvey W. hasn’t finished working his magic yet.

Oscar Smear Campaigns ALWAYS backfire!

Yes, dear readers, dear cineastes, S.T.Vanairsdale over at www.movieline.com has done it again on his Oscar Index, which just dropped tonight. Weekly, S.T. or Stu, is Dorothy Parker-witty and, of course, apt. Called this week “They Shoot Horses….Don’t They?” I was ROTFLMAO! As they say on the Internet.

And I think one  reason all this Oscar Talk has grown and grown in recent years, to something nearing a fever pitch, a fever that lasts all Oscar season, and right now is on the very verge of the Broadcast Film Critics(tonight) and the Golden Globes (Sunday), its’ noise is deafening.

As well it should be, really…

I think it’s GREAT that so many people and Oscar bloggers, like myself, can generate so much interest in the year’s best movies that they TALK ABOUT IT ALL DAY EVERY DAY!

And Stu is noting the demise of “War Horse”. Who isn’t? And he posits that AN ENEMY of “The Artist”s front-runner status PUT KIM NOVAK up to placing that Full Page “I was raped” Ad in Variety yesterday. Which is what I immediately thought, as I posted here. Where does she, a recluse, who hasn’t made a movie since 1991, get the money for that? Stu points a direct finger. Go to www.movieline.com and see who he thinks is the culprit.

I think, as Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone www.awardsdaily.com has posited, in a different context, that when these SMEAR CAMPAIGNS, which is what Roger Friedman calls it, happen, they actual strengthen the Academy’s feelings for the victim of the smear. And no, NOT Kim Novak. “The Artist.”

Similar tactics have been used in the past against the film “A Beautiful Mind”. It won anyway. And also recently against “The Hurt Locker” which also won Best Picture…

These things always backfire.

It’s going to make me look at “Vertigo” the next time I see it with new eyes. Yes, she IS really nuts in that movie, her character…The Ghost of Carlotta Valdez rises yet again.

Meanwhile, Stu V. also FINALLY notes another conclusion that I had reached WEEKS ago on this blog, but of course, doesn’t credit me. That Octavia Spenser’s front runner status is gonna run out with Jessica Chastain’s probable Supporting nod, also for “The Help.” Two actresses from one film cancel each other out. Usually.

And the winner is – Berenice Bejo! Something I’ve been saying for AGES! She, from “The Artist.” Unless SUDDENLY Vanessa Redgrave gets nominated and blows the whole category out of the water! THAT could happen!

And Corey Stoll has been everywhere, EVERYWHERE, this past week. Don’t rule him out for popping up in the Supporting Actor category. “Midnight in Paris” is gaining in strength every day.

Talking about ties. Stu has Meryl and Viola Davis TIED for First Place for Best Actress on his Oscar Index, which is hilarious! And you know what happens to ties? They’re broken. Allowing Michelle Williams to win for “My Week with Marilyn.”

Tom O’Neill of www.goldderby.com has been with me on this Michelle watch since we both fell in love with that movie. And he thinks, as I have been saying for a lonnnnng time, that Michelle will win the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Comedy or Musical, and will KNOCK IT OUT OF THE BALL PARK with a memorable acceptance speech, just like she just did at the Palm Springs Film Festival this week, wowing the AMPAS-packed crowd. At least, we sincerely HOPE she will.

Jamie Fox did that a couple of years back with his acceptance speech at the Globes for “Ray” and he’s never hit the emotional height that he hit that night ever since. But boy did he nail it to the floor that night! And that was the speech that won him his Oscar. The speech he gave at the Globes.

Stu still has “The Artist” on top of Best Picture Index and Michel H. for Best Director and Jean Dujardin for Best Actor. And Christopher Plummer for Best Supporting Actor.

He has a LOT of compelling and amusing things to say this week too. He doesn’t disappoint with his Oscar Index. Unlike so many of the late breaking films have this year!

And now it’s on to the Broadcast Film Critics! And let’s see who wins there!

Kim Novak – Raped by ‘The Artist’! Ad claim ~ Idiotic!

Kim Novak, a big star once upon time, was always classified as a “dumb blonde,” and now we can see why. Reported more fully by Nikki Finke & crew  at www.deadlinehollywood.com Kim took out a full-page ad in one of the trade papers, saying, provocatively, “I want to report a rape.” And now that she’s got the readers’ attention, she goes on to explain why. There was music from her Best Film (and her first) “Vertigo” used at the end of “The Artist.”

And Novak claims this constituted a “violation of her body(of work).” I beg to differ. Somebody supporting one of the “Artist”s rivals for the Oscar, where it is STILL, miraculously, the front-runner, may have put Ms. Novak up to this. Those ads in the trade papers are VERY expensive. Does she at this late stage of her life have the money for something as pricey as AN AD?!? Makes you wonder.

It’s ridiculous. Many quotes from famous movie scores are used all the time. And of course, in this semi-recent one, well, er, 1958, there are licensing fees involved being paid to the late composer Bernard Herrman’s estate for its’ use. And they are probably hefty.

Kim Novak didn’t WRITE the music. She didn’t DIRECT the movie. That was Alfred Hitchcock, who must be rolling over in his grave, with laughter, at this.

And “Artist” director Michel Hazanaviscius, who just won a nomination from the prestigious Directors’ Guild, today issued a very dignified response. And you can read this in either Deadline Hollywood, or www.hollywoodreporter.com or www.movieline.com

Over at www.awardsdaily.com, Oscar Goddess Sasha Stone, has chosen to ignore this tempest in a teacup. At least last time I looked. Sasha is more excited, TRULY excited by her favorite director David Fincher’s getting the surprise nomination from the DGA. Add to this his CINEMATOGRAPHER getting recognized by the ASC nominators this morning, Sasha must be having a VERY good day.

And yes, the cinematography of “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was sumptuous, in its’ own frozen ice-scape way.

And the Broadcast Film Critics’ Awards are TOMORROW night. Yes, dear readers, dear cineastes, it’s the beginning of the end. Of awards season. Last year, the BFCA were very predictive of the Actors’ races, but I think not so much with Best Picture.

And I’ll also add kudos to Sasha for her trumpeting of “Dragon Tattoo.” I think she really did help Fincher get that out-of-the-blue nomination from the DGA. Replacing Steven Spielberg. And now the ASC (American Society of Cinematographers), ignored “War Horse” AGAIN! “Dragon Tattoo” seems to be effectively replacing it.

And some people,myself included, thought the cinematography of “War Horse” was one of its’ strongest suits.

Guess not.

But also don’t forget the Guilds aren’t THE ACADEMY. The largish, younger DGA is not at all like the super-small, very elite, mostly male and VERY old and somewhat conservative director’s branch of the Academy, who may turn around and put Spielberg right back in the race.

Last year’s BFCA started the four-strong lock step to the Oscars that mirrored the Golden Globes acting winners and the eventual Oscar winners exactly. They got the Best Picture wrong last year. And the year before Meryl Streep TIED with Sandra Bullock, lest not forget. For “Julie and Julia” and “The Blind Side” respectively. And the year before that didn’t the same Ms. Streep tie with Anne Hathaway for “Rachel Getting Married”? Is it wrong to not predict MS might tie AGAIN this year with a younger competitor like Michelle Williams? Since the BFCA does historically seem to be all tied up with its’ Best Actresses?

This year all the categories, except Best Supporting Actor, Christopher Plummer, are up in the air. Which is going to make for a VERY interesting evening!

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