SHACK OUT ON 101

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I proudly join the ever increasing number of fans of that odd little film, SHACK OUT ON 101.

Describing this film isn’t easy. I expected so little ( well, that title for a start), but  it draws you in quickly to the likeable characters and then makes you realise they are not all who they seem.

Set in a small roadside diner near highway 101 in California, it feels like a play, with a small cast , and one set , but the writing ( by husband and wife team Edward and  Mildred Dein)  is so good, you are constantly surprised as the plot unfolds.

The cast includes KEENAN WYNN as the diner’s owner, George; WHIT BISSELL as Eddie, a travelling salesman and George’s wartime buddy;

TERRY MOORE is Kotty (yep, that’s her nickname), a waitress at the diner. She’s in love with Sam (FRANK LOVEJOY) who is a professor of nuclear physics at the nearby research university . His excuse for frequent visits to the diner is of course Kotty, but also the fact that Slob ( see below) provides him with unusual shells for his sea shell collection from the nearby beach!

LEE MARVIN is Slob, the diner’s short order cook who doesn’t seem very bright when we first meet him;

LEN LESSER is Perch who delivers fish ( and other things) to the diner;

JESS BARKER and DONALD MURPHY are Artie and Pepe, two truckers for a poultry firm ( or are they) who like to stop off at the diner.

And that’s about the size of the cast.The diner doesn’t have any other customers.

Lee Marvin, Terry Moore, Keenan Wynn.

Lee Marvin, Terry Moore, Keenan Wynn.

Slob and Kotty are always fighting. He can’t understand why she prefers the Professor to him. George also likes Kotty but realises she is stuck on the Professor.

Eddie tells George, ” Even if you were Cary Grant, she wouldn’t give you a second look.”

Kotty is trying to better herself by preparing for a Civil Service exam!

Eddie comes by and chats to Kotty and Sam – Eddie still has  bad memories of the war and he values Sam’s advice, which is to go on a skin diving holiday to Acapulco with his pal George.

 

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One of the funny scenes in the film. George likes to keep fit ,and he and Slob lift weights and discuss physiques . George says, “We’ll be the envy of muscle beach.”

When Kotty suddenly appears,they  rush to put their shirts back on.

 

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In another spare moment ( the diner is never busy), George asks Kotty to decide who has  the best looking legs. She shows them  her legs. No contest. She says, ” In this establishment, I have.”

So, is this a slight comedy about a small group of people thrown together by circumstance on an isolated stretch of the sea coast?  Well, no.

Slob is the murderous head of a spy ring,receiving stolen secrets via Sam, the professor who is actually feeding Slob information in order to find out who Mr. Big is ( a Mr. Gregory whom Slob keeps telling Sam he’ ll meet.And the two truckers  are secret agents who are also keeping an eye on the diner!

It all unravels  of course and leads up to quite an exciting finish.

 

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The poster lists Terry Moore and Frank Lovejoy as the stars but it really is an ensemble cast. But Lee Marvin steals the film as the most unlikely spy you ever saw. His cover as Slob is excellent!

I was also impressed by Terry Moore. A shame her career never really took off.

 

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A nice shot of the four friends, Sam,Kotty,Eddie and George.

 

 

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Another light moment when Eddie and George try on the snorkelling equipment George has bought for their holiday.

 

 

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Every so often you come across a little known film which turns out to be far more than you expected. Shack Out on 101 is well written, well acted, well directed and has a plot and characters which hold your interest.

So watch out for that diner on 101. It’s a hot bed of spies!

I hope George  and Eddie made it to Acapulco, and Kotty became a civil servant and married Sam. As for Slob,  he’s in prison . No more slinging hash for him.

 

 

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CARY GRANT FESTIVAL 2016

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My favorite  actor and I didn’t know about a festival about him in his home town of Bristol.

And  it’s not the first Cary Grant Festival  in Bristol – it started in 2014 and is now in its third year.

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Cary Grant

The young Archie Leach lived in Bristol till he left for America in  1920 with the Bob Pender acrobat troupe. Born at 15 Hughenden road in Bristol on 18 January,1904, unknown to Archie, his mother was in a mental hospital for many years and he did not see her again till the mid 1930s.  She would not relocate to the USA and Cary bought her a house in Bristol and visited her often.

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In 2001, a bronze statue of Cary was unveiled at Bristol’s Millenium Square.

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Cary visited Bristol during his honeymoon in 1965 and later brought his daughter ,Jennifer to his birthplace.

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Films shown at the Festival  in July included NOTORIOUS, BRINGING UP BABY, AN AFFAIR TO REMEMBER and ONLY ANGELS HAVE WINGS.

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And great to hear that a film maker in Bristol, Mark Kidel, is working on a Grant documentary . And that Mark Glancy is writing a biography of Cary.

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On sale at the festival shop,along with mugs and badges.

If there is a 4th festival in 2017, I’ll be there!

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MARNI NIXON DIES AT 86

One of Hollywood’s finest singers,MARNI NIXON, has died in New York at the age of 86, on 24th July,2016.

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Known for her dubbing of Deborah Kerr,Natalie Wood and Audrey Hepburn, Marni’s skill came in adapting her beautiful ,classically trained  voice to the accents and speech patterns of the actresses she was dubbing.

Deborah Kerr,MARNI Nixon

Deborah Kerr,Marni Nixon

 

When it finally  became known that it  was Marni’s voice we hear in The King and I, West Side Story and My Fair Lady, Marni received the accolades she deserved.

She sang with symphony orchestras, opera companies and toured in “Marni Nixon, The Voice of Hollywood”. She did many recordings under her own name.

Many interviews with Marni can be seen on You Tube. And she did play Eliza in My Fair Lady in a stage production in 1964.

Marni Nixon

Marni Nixon

In the days when the film studios were happy to fool the public, Marni never got the credit for her beautiful voice, but fortunately all that changed and we all know the name and voice of Marni Nixon.

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Marni’s autobiography

PHOTO MIX 25

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Richard Widmark. WARLOCK.

My favorite character in Warlock is played by Richard Widmark, maybe because he undergoes such a change, from being a footloose cowboy looking out for his younger brother,Frank Gorshin, to becoming the town deputy sheriff who must stand up to Henry  Fonda and Anthony  Quinn, the town tamers  for hire .

 

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June Allyson and husband Dick Powell get skiing  lessons from Norma Shearer who was married to ski instructor,Marti Arrouge.

 

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It’s screen-grabbing Lyle Bettger, plotting blackmail on the phone to Barbara Stanwyck in NO MAN OF HER OWN. Nobody does it better!

 

 

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Love that French title for ROADHOUSE – The Woman With Cigarette!

She did smoke too much!

Ida Lupino,Richard Widmark ,Cornel Wilde.

 

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Great team. Richard Conte and Susan Hayward in HOUSE OF STRANGERS.

 

 

 

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Arm round the shoulder, just to let James Stewart know what’s what when he greets Arthur  Kennedy and Julie Adams in BEND OF THE RIVER.

 

 

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Good noir shot of Susan Hayward,   Joseph Calleia, Jerome Cowan.  .DEADLINE AT DAWN

 

 

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At last. he is caught. She isn’t crazy.

Joseph Cotten, Charles Boyer,Ingrid Bergman.GASLIGHT.

 

 

 

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Helen Morgan recreates her role of Julie in SHOW BOAT, with Irene Dunne as Magnolia. ( Irene has also played Magnolia on stage.)

 

 

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Great shot which doesnt look staged. They both seem to be observing action going on near them.

Gary Cooper,Jean Arthur.MR. DEEDS GOES TO TOWN.

NOIR FILM FESTIVAL, The Czech Republic.

The tentacles of NOIR spread far and wide.

The Czar of Noir,Eddie Muller will be in the Czech Republic for the 4th annual Noir Festival which is held at the  13th Century castle called Krivoklat.

Eddie Muller

Eddie Muller

Films to be shown (from 18 to 21 August, 2016) at the Festival include FALLEN ANGEL, SPELLBOUND, WHERE THE SIDE WALK ENDS, THE SNIPER, POSSESSED, THE DARK PAST.

Plus tributes to Olivia De Havilland and Kirk Douglas.

The full program can be seen at http://www.noirfilmfestival.cz

The Sniper

The Sniper . Arthur Franz, Marie Windsor.

 

The Dark Mirrror

The Dark Mirrror

 

Linda Darnell, Dana Andrews.FALLEN ANGEL

Linda Darnell, Dana Andrews.FALLEN ANGEL

 

Kirk Douglas

Kirk Douglas

 

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The castle courtyard.

What a unique setting to enjoy a weekend of Noir. I wonder if the castle has any ghosts!

Krivoklat Castle

Krivoklat Castle

THE OOMPH GIRL SAYS NO

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ANN SHERIDAN joins Bette Davis and Olivia De Havilland in complaining about the roles Warner Brothers were offering her.

The date is not clear, possibly 1940.

The article says that Ann accuses Warners of trying to starve her into returning to the studio. I love how Ann says,

“But they don’t know the Sheridan. I’ve been saving my money for five years. And I can sit just as tight as they can.”

Ann had been suspended 4 months earlier because she wanted her salary upped from $600 a week – to $2,000 a week.

Ann added, If I don’t work for them, I can’t work for anybody .”

Ann had several disputes with her studio. Her agent once said,

“It will take $2,000 per week to get her to oomph any more.!”

Ann lost THE STRAWBERRY  BLONDE role to Rita Hayworth as a result of her suspension.

After a 6 month suspension, she did get a higher salary and a good role in KINGS  ROW. (Ann was working on THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER  at the same time she was filming Kings Row.)

Ann made it clear which part mattered to her – “My only love was Randy Monaghan. I didn’t care for Lorraine Sheldon.”

I’ll be watching the new blu-Ray of Ann’s WOMAN ON THE RUN soon. In the meantime, here’s a Sheridan pictorial.

 

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I don’t know which film this picture is from.

 

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Ann with her second husband, GEORGE BRENT.

 

 

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Ann in a 1935 western costarring Randolph Scott.

 

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As ‘Lorraine Sheldon’ in THE MAN WHO CAME TO DINNER.

 

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THE  UNFAITHFUL.

 

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With Cary Grant in I WAS A MALE WAR BRIDE.

 

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WOMAN ON THE RUN.

 

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As ‘Vermilion O’Toole’ in TAKE ME TO TOWN, costarring Sterling Hayden.

 

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COME NEXT SPRING

Great little film .

 

 

 

WHO’SE WHO?

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Can anyone help? I can’t identify everyone in this photo, or when it was taken.

Top row:

Maureen O’Sullivan?, Ann Sheridan, …….?, Charlotte Greenwood,……?

Jane Wyman….who is behind Jane?, Yvonne De Carlo, Charles Coburn, ……..?  Ruth Hussey?

Alexis Smith.