Posts Tagged ‘The Wizard of Oz’

The Blue Bird: No Place Like Home

December 17, 2009

Maurice Tourneur‘s 1918 production of The Blue Bird feels a long way from Walsh’s Five Points. This adaptation of Maurice Maeterlinck‘s 1908 play, is realized by the French director for Adolph Zukor‘s Famous Players-Lasky in fantastic style. Tytyl and Mytyl are a brother and sister living up in a snow-covered village that’s located somewhere between Hansel and Gretel. Across the way lives a sick child and her mannish-looking mother. Down the road are “The Rich Children.” After the kids refuse to let the sick girl adopt their pet bird, they recieve a night visit from a fairy. The fairy brings their surroundings to life and charges Tytyl (Robin Macdougall) and Mytyl (Tula Belle) to find the bluebird of happiness.

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April Fool’s Day Goes to the Movies

April 1, 2009

janet-leighApril Fool’s Day has become too damn predictable. It feels like many newspapers write the fake stories so they can then include them in next year’s round-up of fake stories published on April Fool’s Day. The Onion spoiled it for everybody. Still, in celebration of one of our more moronic holidays, The Quietus’ David Moats rounds up the top ten Hollywood hoaxes. Included are Joaquin Phoenix’s rap career, Stanley Kubrick‘s rumored involvement in the moon landings, and The Blair Witch Project. It’s in an annoying gallery-type thingy, but here’s one of our favorites:

Hitchcock went to great lengths to ensure that audiences were genuinely surprised by the infamous shower scene, which abruptly halts the Janet Leigh plotline and switches to the main act. He even went so far as to enforce a ‘no late entry’ policy. No one would have suspected that Hitchcock would kill off the top-billing actress only part way through. Although it happened because of scheduling conflicts, for the trailer he ended up filming a different actress – Vera Miles – being killed, which only confused people further. More of a good-natured deception that a true hoax – Hitchcock was pretty much doing the audience a favour.

Any other Hollywood hoaxes? The career of Alan Smithee? Hitchcock’s earlier use of a flashback which wasn’t entirely the truth? The rumors that a ghost had been captured on film in Three Men and a Little Lady? How about the midget who supposedly hung himself in the background in The Wizard of Oz? That old saw about early film audiences fleeing L’arrivée d’un train en gare de La Ciotat/The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station in 1896? Your contributions are welcome.

Anne Hathaway Gets Happy as Judy Garland

March 24, 2009

Oscars ArrivalsOne of the incidental pleasures of this year’s Oscar ceremony was learning that Anne Hathaway can sing. Now it looks like the rising star will have a chance to show off both her acting chops and powerful set of lungs. Cinematical reports that Hathaway will star in both a film and possible stage show about the life of Judy Garland.

The announcement came after The Weinstein Co. purchased the stage and screen rights to Gerald Clarke’s biography Get Happy! The Life of Judy Garland. Garland is infamous for her “I’m only smiling on the outside” life. Groomed as a star from childhood, she found fame with Mickey Rooney in the Andy Hardy movies, was Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz, then became a by-word for tragedy through a very public disintegration. Hooked on diet drugs and booze, she made occasional phoenix-like comebacks in stage shows. She also became one of the first modern gay icons … Her death is often given as an indirect cause of the 1969 Stonewall riots.
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