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MissGoddess
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Post by MissGoddess »

I haven't heard of that series but there is a Barbara Stanwyck tribute at B.A.M. (Brooklyn Academy of Music) until May 6th and a James Bond/Vintage 007 festival being held at The Film Forum, downtown.
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Moraldo Rubini
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On the Brownlow

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

Just got in from seeing Kevin Brownlowreceive the Mel Novikoff Award.

Mel Novikoff was the ultimate film fan and supporter. He owned San Francisco's Surf Theatre (see the Dark Houses of Light), was behind restoring of The Castro (where this Award was presented today). His love for cinema is matched by Mr. Brownlow; so the award seemed most fitting.

Lynn, you didn't warn me that Mr. Brownlow* would be so disarmingly charming. A witty raconteur, he would make the perfect dinner party companion. And today's crowd treated him like the hottest matinée idol. The applause wouldn't die down as he approached the dais. Worried about time constraints (due to the impending screening of his restored version of Alan Dwan's The Iron Mask), he would mention that he should cut his stories short; each time the audience begged him to stay, "Please don't go!" and "We love your stories!". It was like a rock concert for film geeks!

Mr. Brownlow told of his formative years. He was sent to boarding school at a very young age; and there, the children were shown black/white home movies of the orphans who'd been schooled there. "I knew nothing of film technique at the time, but I recognized these were hopeless."

At age 10 his dream came true and he was given a projector. He raced to his room to set it up, and was dashed to discover he'd been given a slide projector. He had to wait another year before he was given a film projector.

He told of asking Josef von Sternberg for an interview. Sternberg responded quixotically, "To protect our future relationship, I will allow you only one half hour." Unfortunately, due to horrible L.A. traffic, Mr. Brownlow arrived late, embarrassed and nervously out of breath. Sternberg stopped him with, "Please calm yourself, a half hour is a long time." When the half hour was up, Mr. Brownlow said he would be going. Sternberg asked where he was going next; and when he told the director that he was going to meet Alan Dwan, Sternberg countered, "Sit down. I will extend our visit." (Mr. Brownlow's impression of Sternberg was spot on and very funny.)

Lynn, I thought of you when he talked about John Ford. He told anecdotes about trying to get Ford to talk about film -- with no success. He told about meeting Ford at a party and each question about movies and the people Ford worked with was answered with "don't remember". Then Ford saw Brownlow's wife, a lovely red head. "Where are you from?", Ford asked her. She named a county in Ireland (sorry Ken, I don't remember which one), Ford lit up and took her away, asking "Do know the little bridge outside the village in..." Suddenly, he remembered every obscure detail.

He talked about Gance, Chaplin and his restoration projects of their works. It was a wonderful afternoon. Soon the time came for him to show the restored, mostly silent, The Iron Mask starring Douglas Fairbanks. Sound films were popular by this time (1929), but Fairbanks didn't like it. He acquiesed to two sound prologues though: one at the beginning of the film, the second as the intermission ended. These prologues gave us a sense of the thrill of early sound. The movie opened -- seemingly -- on a portrait of the four Muskateers within a rococo frame, featuring puti and a shield reading "Un pour tous, Tous pour Un". Suddenly, D'Artagnan (Fairbanks) breaks the tableau vivre and addresses the audience with the introduction to the film. It was delightful.

I love how Fairbanks never merely enters a room by walking in. He must jump through the window, leap in from a tree, bound in from a dangling rope, or otherwise burst into the scene. I'd like to start arriving to work in this manner.

Tonight, Kevin Brownlow is showing his new documentary on Cecil B. DeMille, and has promised us that we will see a lot of DeMille footage that has never been seen, or hasn't been seen in 70 years.

__________
* I thought Rubini would be more informal at this site -- since we're all pals here -- so I would dispense with surnames; but I hold Kevin Brownlow in such high esteem, I can't muster using his first name alone.
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Post by Lzcutter »

Marco,

So glad that you enjoyed Kevin Brownlow. It sounds like it was a wonderful afternoon. I like the idea of you entering the workplace ala Doug Sr. I am hoping that Iron Mask will play the Silent Theater here later this year as I really want to see it and The Three
Musketeers
again.

I am also glad to hear that Mr. Brownlow was well received and treated like a rock star. There is hope in the world on some days.


The talk with Rex Bell, Jr this afternoon was pretty wonderful too. He talked about growing up on the ranch, his grandfather "King" Bow and told some great stories. The last story he told was of the night that Carole Lombard's plane crashed into Mt. Potosi. Lombard and Gable were friends with Rex Sr and Clara and had been out to the ranch a few times. When the call came, Rex Sr and a couple of the ranch hands loaded some horses into trailers and drove up to the mountain in hopes they could be of help in the rescue effort. Clara and Rex, Jr stood out on the second floor balcony and could see the burning plane wreckage on the mountainside.

After the discussion, people were having Rex sign their souvenior programs.

I, too, had a good afternoon! Thought of Jonparker every time Rex told a story about his mother.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

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Wings

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

What a chilling tale regarding seeing the flames of Lombard's plane. As I recall, that flight was a last minute decision, and that her mother took the train -- isn't that right? Terrible, terrible...

I'm bleery-eyed, but content, having just gotten in from seeing Cecil B. De Mille – American Epic, Kevin Brownlow's documentary on the King of Epic Hokum. I noticed that the documentary was 1) presented by Turner Classic Movies; and 2) was made in 2004. Does this mean y'all have already seen it? It should have been included on that set of DeMille movies that was released on DVD last year, but it wasn't -- was it?

The first half was more interesting to me. The silent works were so creative; I was drawn to many of them. How wonderful that virtually all his works still exist (due to contractual stipulations that he got a copy of everything he made), and that the DeMille estate made all of his archives available to him.

Mr. Brownlow mentioned that when he made his documentary on D. W. Griffith, they were only able to find about 30 seconds of footage of Griffith himself. Conversely, for DeMille they had about 30 hours of footage! DeMille filmed everything and kept everything. Mr. Brownlow also told of researching one of DeMille's early silents, trying to ascertain just how he worked on it. He was thrilled to find -- among the canisters of the film he was researching -- a reel labelled "DeMille Operation". He thought, "Finally I can actually see how his production unit operated!" To his surprise (and disappointment [though, in another way, fascination]), the footage was actually of a surgical procedure that was done on C. B. DeMille!

Thanks for sharing about the Rex Bell afternoon, Lynn! I was hoping you would report.

I wonder how that Stanwyck festival is going in Brooklyn?
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Re: Wings

Post by Kyle In Hollywood »

Moraldo Rubini wrote: I'm bleery-eyed, but content, having just gotten in from seeing Cecil B. De Mille – American Epic, Kevin Brownlow's documentary on the King of Epic Hokum. I noticed that the documentary was 1) presented by Turner Classic Movies; and 2) was made in 2004. Does this mean y'all have already seen it?
Good Morning Mr. Rubini -
Yes. Mr. Brownlow's documentary was shown on TCM about three years ago as a featured part of a month saluting Epic Cinema. You can read more about it here -
http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article?cid=72480

Also, did you notice that historian David Thomson is the May Guest Programmer on TCM? His selections are listed here -
http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=159382

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Always the last to know...

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

Kyle, it's so early. Shouldn't you go back to bed?

Well, at least I'm catching up with the longer termed TCMers. If the DeMille doc is a few years old, it begs the question: What is Mr. Brownlow's latest project? I wonder what he's working on now?

Thanks for the info. I'm trying not to look too much at the May schedule as I fear I won't be able to see much of it. I guess I won't know until tomorrow whether my new temporary "home" will have TCM. I'm not even sure how often I'll be able to come to this board. If I have a month without TCM... I'm sure to go into severe withdrawal!
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Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

Thank you, lynn and moraldo, for letting me live vicariously through your
exploits. Loved reading today's "columns!"
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Re: Always the last to know...

Post by Kyle In Hollywood »

Moraldo Rubini wrote:Well, at least I'm catching up with the longer termed TCMers. If the DeMille doc is a few years old, it begs the question: What is Mr. Brownlow's latest project? I wonder what he's working on now?
Not that I really pay attention to his stuff but, after a little research, I found out that these projects have been completed since the DeMille documentary -

Kevin Brownlow worked on the Garbo Documentary that played TCM in September 2005 -
http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article/?cid=102804

A Merian C. Cooper/King Kong documentary featured in November 2005 -
http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article?cid=107435

and I guess this Buster Keaton documentary was done after the DeMille program too -
http://www.tcm.com/thismonth/article?cid=92538

But, I can't pin down any info on a project in development by Mr. Brownlow.

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Post by Sue Sue Applegate »

Great links, Kyle!
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More adventures in the land of Bells

Post by Lzcutter »

Marco,

I had the rare privledge today of visiting the Walking Box Ranch where Rex, Sr and Clara Bow 'retired' to and Rex, jr was born and raised.

The house and grounds are not currently open to the public so my photographer and I got a personal tour by the caretakers. It was great. The house is hacienda style with sheltered patios and balconies.

The bathrooms are a hoot. All original ceramic tile and in the showers there are six nozzles coming out of the shower walls!

There's a servant quarters (one small room with a small bathroom (they only rated a shower head), a pantry, kitchen and then a swinging door that leads into the dining room and Rex Sr's study.

The dining room is a large room with a large stone fireplace taking up one wall. There are two bedrooms and a shared bathroom (with nozzles coming out of the shower wall) between the rooms. These rooms open up to the pool area.

That leads into a smaller family room with a bar and the stairs upstairs.
Upstairs is the master bedroom with two walk in closets and the master bath.

There is a detached garage that at some point was converted into two small guest rooms that aren't connected to the house but both have their own entrances and are connected via the porch ways and open onto the pool area.

All this is nestled in a valley of Joshua trees at 4,000 feet above sea level so it was about 10 degrees cooler there than in Searchlight or Las Vegas.

The ranch at one time was 400,000 (yes, you read that right) acres (mostly BLM land). Rex and Clara hosted Patton's troops in 1942 for BBQues when they were training for North Africa. They were training down around Blythe and I guess it wasn't that far a trip up to Nipton. The ranch ran 180,000 (yes, you read that right) head of cattle, delivering them for market to the railhead in Nipton.

The Walking Box is between Nipton, CA and Searchlight, NV. I should have a disc of the pixs later this week and will post some here.

We also saw the barn and the ice house where Rex once hung his younger brother from a meat hook and locked him in the ice house. Luckily, one of the ranch hands heard George yelling for high heaven and let him out.

The Walking Box name is from the old silent cameras (that you saw in Photoplay's logo yesterday!) that were basically wooden boxes on tripods.

The brand is the box with two tripod sticks.

Rex, Sr sold the range in the late 1940s when he and Clara broke up. He was getting interested in politics so he and the boys moved into town. He opened a Western Wear store on Fremont Street and became Lt. Governor. He died of a heart attack while running for Governor.

Clara returned to Santa Monica after illness caused the break up of her marriage but Rex, Jr says that his parents remained on good terms.

Clara outlived Rex, Sr by two years.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

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Squeeeeeal

Post by Moraldo Rubini »

What a rare and wonderful opportunity, Lynn! I wish I could have been part of your entourage. Rex Jr. lives there now? The stories he must have! I"m surprised stories from Patton's soldiers haven't emerged over the years. That must have been a heady experience for those young guys from the heartland to suddenly be hosted by Clara Bow. Though I supposed she hadn't made a movie in 10 years by then; I wonder what their level of awareness was regarding her career. The boys' parents would have been excited anyway!

I look forward to seeing pictures. Thanks again!
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Post by Lzcutter »

Marco,

Rex, jr lives in town these days. The good news, the ranch house and grounds are under the care of the University of Nevada,Las Vegas and they hope to turn the house into a museum in the years ahead.

Rex, jr has almost all the furniture from the house when his parents owned it and there is some talk that the university will acquire it and return it to the ranch.

The house in town that Rex, jr had built is a territorial style house but the interior is very reminiscent of the house he grew up in.

I'm still broken-hearted that I missed Kevin Brownlow but am thrilled that I got to arrange for Rex, jr to share his stories with a rapt audience yesterday and then getting to see his childhood house today more than repaired my forlorn heart.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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Post by Moraldo Rubini »

Lynne said:
I'm still broken-hearted that I missed Kevin Brownlow but am thrilled that I got to arrange for Rex, jr to share his stories with a rapt audience yesterday and then getting to see his childhood house today more than repaired my forlorn heart.
Which reminds me, Lynn: In Mr. Brownlow's documentary on Cecil B. DeMille, he mentions something about Jesse Lasky's original barn/office where he filmed his first movies. It was one of the first "studios" in Hollywood. He said that it's still there and is open as a museum. Have you been? Do you know where it is? How is it that I've never bumped into it in my past visits to the area?
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Post by Lzcutter »

Marco,

It is indeed a museum. Hollywood Heritage, the Preservation group that tries to save as much of the old actual Hollywood as possible, has monthly events there.

It is across the street from the Hollywood Bowl on Highland Ave. The nearest cross street is Odin.

The museum is small but has some good exhibits and is open to the public.

When you come down here to go to the Apple Pan, I'll add this to the list of things we have to see.

BTW, John Ford's house was at the end of Odin Street. It is now the site of a parking lot for the Hollywood Bowl. yes, that will be on the tour as well.
Lynn in Lake Balboa

"Film is history. With every foot of film lost, we lose a link to our culture, to the world around us, to each other and to ourselves."

"For me, John Wayne has only become more impressive over time." Marty Scorsese

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jdb1

Post by jdb1 »

The Film Society of Lincoln Center (NYC) is holding a salute to Lee Marvin starting today, May 11, and running through May 24.

The program lists some guests, including John Boorman and Pamela Marvin, who will speak about Marvin and his career.

The films scheduled seem heavy on the better-known of Marvin's films, like Cat Ballou, The Dirty Dozen,The Killers, and Liberty Valence, but they are also showing The Iceman Cometh and some other lesser-known of his appearances, plus a few episodes of M Squad. Let the testosterone flow!
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