"The Public Enemy" director William Wellman tackles the issue of medical ethics in this blue-collar melodrama from Warner Brothers, "Night Nurse," (*** out of ****) about an unsavory quack trying to starve two vulnerable pre-school children to death to get his grimy hands on their trust fund. A young Barbara Stanwyck stars as the crusading nurse heroine who sets out to save the kids from the despicable likes of Clark Gable--in a loan-out role--as a slimy small time hood who has no qualms about slugging women. This snappy, Depression-era, 72-minute, black & white expose about hospitals and nurses qualifies as gripping but often sordid tale. Wellman doesn't foreground the usual romantic conventions by focusing primarily on the relationship between the heroine and the hero. The romantic scenes between Barbara Stanwyck and Ben Lyon as they flirt take a backseat to the subversive plot about children-in-jeopardy. Barbara Stanwyck's performance as a young nurse seems callow and uncertain atRead More »from FILM REVIEW of ''NIGHT NURSE'' (1931)
- Tonya Delvecchio | Author Blog Posts – Tue, Jul 10, 2012 8:47 AM EDT
What is Costume Design? Simple masks worn by ancient Greeks during their productions were most likely the earliest types of costumes. As theater productions and characters became more involved and complex, however, so did other elements of theater production, including costume design.Read More »from GET BEHIND the SCENES with a COSTUME DESIGN CAREER
Up until the 17th century, for instance, women were forbidden from acting in theater productions. Because of this, the costumes before this time needed to be elaborate enough to make boys and men appear to be women, if need be.
Today, the art of costume design involves creating costumes and apparel for characters in plays and movies. Costumes typically need to be created in order to suit both the personalities and the roles of the characters. Realistic costumes should also look as though they fit into the time periods of the productions. For instance, if a play takes place in the 1800's, the costumes of the actors should reflect this.
What Does a Costume Designer Do? Along with make-up artists and hair
My favorite cinematic adaptations of costume-clad, comic-book, crime-fighters vary. The Christopher Reeve "Superman" (1978) tops my list followed by its sequel "Superman II" (1980), then "Iron Man" (2008), "Spider-man" (2002), "Batman Begins" (2005), "The Dark Knight" (2008), "X-Men" (2000), "X2" (2003), "Fantastic Four" (2005), and "X-Men: First Class" (2011). Interestingly, Marvel Comics has enjoyed greater success with their cinematic adaptations than their DC rivals. Since I grew up perusing DC Comics, I have a soft spot for DC heroes and their classic simplicity compared with more sophisticated but fascinating origins of the Marvel Comics mutants. Each of these films exhibits ambitious artistry and sets the gold standard for heroes, villains, and stories. Sure, the Michael Keaton "Batman" movies were entertaining, but "Batman" didn't reach the gold standard until Christopher Nolan took over the helm from quirky Tim Burton and middle-of-the-road Joel Schumacher. Typically, a greatRead More »from FILM REVIEW of "GREEN LANTERN" (2011)
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Several things about director George Sherman's last western shoot'em-up "Big Jake" (** out of ****)are significant. First, this represented the last time John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara co-starred in a film. Earlier, Wayne and O'Hara made "Rio Grande" (1950), "The Quiet Man" (1952), "The Wings of Eagles" (1957), and "McLintock!" (1963). O'Hara has two scenes in "Big Jake," but she appears in only one with the Duke. They neither kiss nor do they embrace such is the animosity that keeps them apart. Second, this was the tenth and last time Wayne and Sherman worked together. Sherman had called the shots on several strictly average "Three Mesquiteers" B-movie westerns with Wayne for Republic Studios back in the late 1930s. Reportedly, Wayne stepped in to helm some scene when the ailing Sherman could not. Third, this violent turn-of-the-century oater also re-teams Wayne with a poncho-clad Richard Boone as a slimy main villain. Previously, they appeared together in "The Alamo" (1960) and laterRead More »from FILM REVIEW of "BIG JAKE" (1971)
Freshman director Jason Eisener's contemporary vigilante thriller "Hobo With a Shotgun" (**** out of ****) epitomizes the essence of grindhouse movies from the 1970s and the 1980s. Grindhouse movies are typically low-brow, low-budget, politically-incorrect R-rated, epics that exploit shocking, often sensational subject matter for either high drama or comedy. Moreover, these films feature gratuitous amounts of blood, gore, profanity, sex, nudity, violence as well as sub-standard special effects. The most infamous grindhouse/exploitation movies appeared in the 1930s, including "The Road to Ruin" (1934), "Reefer Madness" (1936), "Marihuana" (1936), "Cocaine Fiends" (1935), "Child Bride" (1938), "Gambling with Souls" (1936) and "Sex Madness" (1938). A s you can imagine, the tawdry material that these movies tangled with didn't constitute polite supper table conversation. Mind you, back during the Great Depression, these movies were classified as sleazy. They are tame by today's standards.Read More »from FILM REVIEW of "HOBO with a SHOTGUN":
Size obsessed science fiction filmmakers during the 1950s. They measured everything by bulk. Aliens, animals, humans, and robots either increased or decreased in mass. Actually, the first sci-fi film to explore the possibilities of people reduced in stature was Todd Browning's "The Devil Doll" (1936) about a vengeful scientist who used humans that he had reduced in size to do his dirty work. Gordon Douglas' "Them!" (1954)qualified as the first major movie about small things being enlarged by radiation. "Them!" concerned huge irradiated ants. Inevitably, just as Hollywood had shrunk humans, they would also endeavor to enlarge them. Indeed, director Bert I. Gordon tried out this concept in 1957 with "The Cyclops" about a mutated 25-foot tall human in South America, anticipating Gordon's own 1958 outing "War of the Colossal Beast." When you compare the release dates of "The Amazing Colossal Man" (** OUT OF ****) with "The Incredible Shrinking Man," it looks as if American InternationalRead More »from FILM REVIEW of "THE AMAZING COLOSSAL MAN" (1957)
Incongruity is the basis for the best comedy. Consider any clown. A clown has big ears, an enormous nose, voluminous pants, and elongated feet. Clowns exaggerate their physical appearance for laughs. Not only may the star in a comedy be a clown with outlandish features, like either Buster Keaton or Charles Chaplin, but the narrative in a comedy may also provide an element of incongruity. For example, the fish-out-of-water comedy contains characters struggling to fit into the puzzle of an unknown environment. They may be working at a new job. They may have to deal with unfamiliar people. These new friends may use another language and cherish strange customs with which our hero lacks familiarity. Consequently, the hero ends up behaving like a buffoon because he is out-of-place.Read More »from FILM REVIEW of ''ZOOKEEPER" (2011)
"Waterboy" director Frank Coraci's new featherweight comic misfire "Zookeeper" (** out of ****) relies on incongruity for its few funniest moments. More often than not, the slapstick takes a backseat to a saga
Compared to "Reefer Madness," "Cocaine Fiends" (** out of ****) treats its subject matter with more gravity. Mind you, this constitutes a left-handed compliment for "Primrose Path" director William A. O'Connor. Interestingly, the original theatrical title was "The Pace That Kills." Moreover, this sound-era version is a remake of the 1928 silent original that O'Connor co-helmed with Norton S. Parker. Considering its subject matter, this black & white film never depicts the addicts using narcotics. Once scene occurs in an Asian opium den, and the addict urges an Asian woman to accelerate the process. Prostitution is suggested rather than shown as is the abuse of cocaine. Despite its occasional lapses in coherence, "Cocaine Fiends" is considerably more realistic about its subject matter, and the punishment that the junkies and the dope peddlers receive is not prescribed by judges or courtroom prosecutors.
"Cocaine Fiends" opens with a pretentious prologue. Not only does this prologue
The Secret to Chicken Happiness only costs a buckRead More »from The Secret to Chicken Happiness Only Costs a Buck
Now that I'm back to blogging and gardening I thought I would do a little PSA on the Secret to Chicken Happiness. I'd like to think my girls are happy with their little chicken lives. They have clean bedding, fresh water, plenty of food and I don't think they spend much time worrying about predators, but none of that is the key to a really and truly happy chicken.
But if you really want a to send your chicken into a frenzied state of happiness, you've gotta give them a treat that will put them on the quick train to chicken nirvana.
For my girls it's the white curdled dairy product of the gods - cottage cheese. They particularly like the Breakstones 100 calorie single serve cups of cottage cheese mixed with fruit that you can buy for a buck at the grocery store. If I was the type that routinely bought cottage cheese for myself, I'd just give the chickens the leftovers, but since I don't, I buy one of these every couple of weeks as a
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