Arthur Miller: The Writer and the Man

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Rebecca Miller, daughter of American playwright Arthur Miller and his third wife, Austrian-born photographer Inge Morath, is a novelist and filmmaker whose works include The Ballad of Jack and Rose and The Private Lives of Pippa Lee. She has directed a stage revival of her father’s play, After the Fall, and her handful of acting credits include a minor role in a television adaptation of An American Clock. She also met her future husband, actor Daniel Day-Lewis, on the set of another Miller classic, The Crucible (1996.) Continue reading

My Hopes and Fears for 2020

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As a new decade beckons, I’m deeply worried about the way our world seems to be heading. As W.H. Auden wrote on ‘September 1, 1939‘ (a poem deemed so prescient he tried to bury it …) Continue reading

Merry Christmas To All My Readers

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Just a little note from me to wish you all a merry Christmas. If you thought you’d seen off my lists for another year, make room for one more as in a few days, I’ll be looking back at the end of this decade in music, books and film. But first, let’s enjoy this nostalgic carol from Lana Del Rey and friends.

As some of you may know, The Trial of Christine Keeler is coming to BBC1. First announced here, the six-part drama starts at 9 pm this Sunday, December 29th. With the exhibition Dear Christine heading to London in February, and Scandal set for reissue by the BFI, the women of the Profumo Affair may finally get their due in 2020.

 

Marilyn’s ‘Mirror’ Review Goes to Print

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My review of Amanda Konkle’s excellent book, Some Kind of Mirror: Creating Marilyn Monroe, is featured in the latest issue (#38) of UK fanzine Mad About Marilyn, alongside articles about Marilyn’s arduous promotional tour for the final Marx Brothers movie, Love Happy (1949); ‘A New Marilyn Comes Back’, first published by Movie Spotlight in 1956; and a profile of photographer Bruno Bernard, aka ‘Bernard of Hollywood’.

The delightful cover photo was taken at Richard Avedon‘s New York studio in July 1958, shortly before Marilyn flew to Los Angeles to shoot Some Like It Hot. If you’d like to subscribe to Mad About Marilyn, please email Emma: emmadowning@blueyonder.co.uk

2019: A Year in Books

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First published in 2015 as Zuleikha Opens Her Eyes and now available in English, Zuleikha tells the story of a Tatar woman whose brutish husband and vindictive mother-in-law treat her as a slave. This all changes around 1930 when along with other peasants and Leningrad intellectuals – a motley crew of ‘enemies of the state’ – Zuleikha is transported to a gulag in Siberia. Beside the age-old themes of tyranny and suffering, Zuleikha offers a surprisingly hopeful vision of how ordinary people can keep their wits and capacity for love, even in the direst circumstances. Continue reading

2019: A Year In Film and TV

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In 2019, we said goodbye to sixties icons Albert Finney and Sue Lyon, and remembered Sharon TateContinue reading

2019: A Year In Music

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This year brought defiant statements from masters old and new: the iconoclastic Madame X, reuniting Madonna with ‘disco god’ Mirwais; and the epochal Norman Fucking Rockwell from Lana Del Rey. Continue reading

Two-Faced Woman: Joan Crawford and ‘Rain’

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While it is generally agreed that no actress surpassed Jeanne Eagels’ performance as Sadie Thompson in Rain, many have tried. Among them was none other than Joan Crawford, in a 1932 talkie which was widely panned on release (and later, by Crawford herself.) While at first her Sadie may seem close to parody, a more striking portrayal soon emerges, as Imogen Sara Smith writes in ‘Two-Faced Woman’, an article for The Chiseler. Continue reading

Marilyn: A Life in Biographics

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“When we can recognise an actor by a set of icons, we can also recognise how completely that actor and their work have entered our culture and our consciousness.” A snapper board, a ukulele, and a birthday cake; the imprint of red lipstick, a bottle of Chanel No. 5, and a white halter dress blowing in the wind above a subway grate. These are all visual signifiers of the ultimate Hollywood bombshell, Marilyn Monroe. Continue reading

Soledad 3: Twin Peaks, Blondie and More

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The third issue of SOLEDAD Arts Journal is now available to order via Amazon, for £5.18 in the UK or a devilish $6.66 Stateside. The cover photo shows Carol Lynley, who sadly passed away recently, with Gig Young in The Shuttered Room (1967), to which editor Jeremy Richey pays tribute inside. This issue’s muse is Debbie Harry, with Blondie lyrics peppered throughout, and a profile by superfan Dave Stewart (no, not that one.) Debbie was my first pop idol, and her recent memoir, Face It, has brought me back into the fold.

Still on the music front, Jeremy has also interviewed Texan duo Teenage Cavegirl, and Steven Darrow from Sonic Medusa and Sister Midnight. There are short stories by Les Bohem and Robert Monell, poems by Emily Clare Bryant, and photography by Amy Pangburn. John Greco talks about his Noir fiction, and Marcelline Block writes about reading in the digital age. As always, the film world is well-represented, with a review of a new Scorpio Films anthology – including Obsessions (Hole in the Wall), co-scripted by a young Martin Scorsese – and an insightful essay by Laura Kupp Beerman, ‘Seen/Unseen: Halloween, Peeping Tom and Empire of Signs.’

And finally, the concluding part of my Twin Peaks trilogy is also published in this issue, which I’ll dedicate to Robert Forster, who played Sheriff Frank Truman in the revival. He had a long and varied career, from his debut in Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967), through to his comeback in Jackie Brown (1999) and Mulholland Drive (2001.) His surprise appearance in El Camino, the Breaking Bad sequel which aired last month, will now be remembered as his swansong.