Marilyn Monroe: The Classic Performances

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“My God, I think there have been more books on Marilyn Monroe than on World War II, and there’s a great similarity.”

So said Billy Wilder, who made two classic films with Monroe – and although the great director was prone to exaggerate, he had the battle scars to prove his point. Marilyn Monroe: The Classic Performances is the latest in an ongoing series from the prolific Chris Wade – a musician and filmmaker in his own right, with an admirable DIY ethic – whose past subjects include Marlene Dietrich, Sophia Loren and Madonna. Continue reading

From Jeanne, to Bette: A Tale of Two Letters

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Before its restoration in 2013, Jeanne Eagels’ penultimate movie, The Letter (1929), was falling into obscurity. But while the 1940 remake is more accomplished overall, Jeanne’s performance as a frustrated colonial wife more than holds up against Bette Davis in the same role. An in-depth comparison between the two is posted at the Notoriously Nora movie blog today. Continue reading

And the (Posthumous) Oscar Goes to…

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Last night’s Academy Awards was an unusual event in more ways than one. Firstly, the pandemic made it something of a bare-bones affair. And secondly, the favourite to win in the Best Actor category – Chadwick Boseman, for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom – passed away in 2020, aged 43, after a long battle with cancer. In another change of routine, this award was presented at the end of the ceremony, with winner Anthony Hopkins, in a speech given from his home in Wales, acknowledging his fellow nominee: “At 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award, I really didn’t … I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early.”

In her own way, Jeanne Eagels was as much an icon of the Roaring Twenties as Ma Rainey, and as several media outlets have noted lately, she also heads up the select group of actors who earned Oscar nominations posthumously. Continue reading

Rolling Into Spring With Lana

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As we roll into springtime, I’m enjoying Lana Del Rey’s dreamy new album, Chemtrails Over the Country Club. Here in England we’re still in lockdown, but the vaccine has arrived so let’s hope a brighter future is just around the corner. Although I haven’t been posting here much, I’m busy writing offline. Continue reading