Who's Next To Croak?

Started by cine, September 28, 2003, 11:07:39 AM

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Oscar-winning film composer Bernstein dies

Elmer Bernstein, whose eclectic film music ranged from the rousing theme of "The Magnificent Seven" to the lighthearted score for "Thoroughly Modern Millie," for which he won an Oscar, died Wednesday afternoon at his home in Ojai, Calif. He was 82. The composer died after a lengthy illness -- the exact cause of death has not been determined -- with his wife, Eve, and his two daughters, Elizabeth and Emilie, by his side, a spokesperson said.

The prodigiously prolific Bernstein worked steadily in films and television since the early '50s, writing more than 200 major film and television scores, encompassing a range of genres. "Never has anyone reinvented themselves so many times," said Richard Kraft, Bernstein's former agent and longtime friend. "And he didn't just compose one film in each genre, he did a few. He would become the go-to guy for completely different genres, and he kept that going for 50 years. From the first Oscar (nomination) to the last is almost a five-decade span." He wrote his last major film score, a lush evocation of '50s melodrama, for Todd Hayne's 2002 drama "Far From Heaven," for which Bernstein received the last of his 14 Academy Award nominations.

"His last project was a documentary on Cecil B. DeMille for TCM," said Jeff Bond, senior editor of Film Score Monthly. "It was a great score that let him revisit his 'Ten Commandments' style and adapt some early silent film scores."

A memorable film score depends on a memorable melody, Bernstein insisted, reminiscing last year at a luncheon of the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers. Calling melody "the emotional core of a film," Bernstein said "a good line will always win."

Bernstein introduced jazz elements into American film scoring with 1955's "The Man With the Golden Arm," Otto Preminger's groundbreaking drama about heroin addiction, and went further in that direction with 1957's "Sweet Smell of Success," which captured the moody tempos of Broadway by night, and 1962's "Walk on the Wild Side," scored to the rhythms of a New Orleans bordello.

But almost simultaneously, his work also ranged from sweeping epics like 1956's "The Ten Commandments," with all its biblical sound and fury, to intimate Americana like 1962's "To Kill a Mockingbird," which introduced its themes with just a piano and solo flute.

After turning out his indelible theme for 1960's "The Magnificent Seven" -- it is quoted in Michael Moore's documentary "Fahrenheit 9/11" and, inevitably, evokes a laugh of recognition from audiences -- Bernstein frequently turned to Western fare in the '60s. He scored John Wayne's last seven films, including "True Grit" and "The Shootist."

During the '70s and '80s, he was frequently sought out by a new generation of filmmakers including John Landis and Ivan Reitman who had been raised on his films and who invited him to score such comedies as "National Lampoon's Animal House," "Airplane!" "Stripes" and "Ghostbusters."

Bernstein began a long-running collaboration with director Martin Scorsese when he composed the score for Stephen Frears' 1990 feature "The Grifters," which Scorsese produced. Scorsese and Bernstein worked together on "Cape Fear," "The Age of Innocence" and "Bringing Out the Dead."

"He liked taking risks with new directors," Kraft said. "He knew what made movies work. He brought new filmmakers his expertise, but he was not stodgy in his expertise. The knowledge and experience he brought to other people and their films can never be replicated."

In addition to his wife and daughters, Bernstein also is survived by his sons Peter and Gregory and five grandchildren.

Memorial plans have not yet been decided.

:yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks


Johnny Ramone of the Ramones dies at 55

Johnny Ramone, guitarist and co-founder of seminal punk band the Ramones has died. He was 55. Ramone died in his sleep Wednesday afternoon at his Los Angeles home surrounded by friends and family, his publicist said. He had been fighting a five-year battle with prostate cancer. (AP)
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks


The KKK took Johnny awayyy..

rip johnny  :(


Legendary filmmaker Russ Meyer dead

LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Russ Meyer, who helped spawn the "skin flick" with such films as "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" and "Vixen," has died. He was 82.

Meyer died Saturday at his home in the Hollywood Hills, according to his company, RM Films International Inc. Spokeswoman Janice Cowart said Meyer had suffered from dementia and died of complications of pneumonia.

Meyer's films were considered pornographic in their time but are less shocking by today's standards, with their focus on violence and large-busted women but little graphic sex.

Altogether he produced, directed, financed, wrote, edited and shot at least 23 films, including his debut, "The Immoral Mr. Teas," in 1959 and the 1968 film "Vixen," whose success earned him notice from major studios.

He went on to direct the major studio release "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls", which was co-written by film critic Roger Ebert.

In a 1996 interview with The Associated Press, Meyer described his films as "passion plays. ... Beauty against something that's totally evil."

Meyer was unapologetic for his movies, arguing the onscreen female nudity put customers in theater seats. But he maintained that women liked the films.

"The girls kick the hell out of the guys. I've always played well at the Ivy League -- Cornell, Dartmouth. I have never encountered a berating woman," he said.

Meyer's work made him rich and earned him critical acclaim. He was honored at international film festivals, his movies were discussed in college courses, and his work was shown at top museums.

His 1966 classic, "Faster Pussycat, Kill! Kill!" about three hip go-go-girl club dancers who go on a vengeful murder spree against the men who did them wrong still makes the art house rounds.

"This film is not derogatory to women," Meyer said. "There were three tough cookies to deal with. Besides, they get what's coming."

Meyer married three times. His studio said he left no survivors.



King of the funny skin flicks

September 22, 2004


Russ Meyer is dead. The legendary independent director, who made exploitation films but was honored as an auteur, died Saturday at his home in the Hollywood Hills. He was 82, and had been suffering from dementia. The immediate cause of death was pneumonia, said Janice Cowart, a friend who supervised his care during his last years. She announced his death Tuesday.

Such bare facts hardly capture the zest of a colorful man who became a Hollywood icon. Meyer's "The Immoral Mr. Teas" (1959), hailed by the highbrow critic Leslie Fiedler as the funniest comedy of the year, created the skin flick genre, and after the box office success of his "Vixen" (1968) he was crowned "King of the Nudies" in a front-page profile in the Wall Street Journal. His "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" (1970), for which I wrote the screenplay, represented the first foray into sexploitation by a major studio (20th Century Fox).

His films were X-rated but not pornographic. Meyer told me he had two reasons for avoiding hard-core: (1) "I want to play in regular theaters and keep the profits, instead of playing in porn theaters and doing business with the mob." (2) "Frankly, what goes on below the waist is visually not that entertaining." For Meyer, what went on above the waist was a lifelong fascination; he cheerfully affirmed his obsession with big breasts.

Meyer was the ultimate auteur. He not only directed his films, but could and often did write, photograph, edit and distribute them, and carried his own camera. In a genre known for sleazy sets and murky photography, Meyer's films were often shot outdoors in scenic desert and mountain locations, and his images were bright and crisp. He said his inspiration was Al Capp's "L'il Abner" comic strip, and his films were not erotic so much as funny, combining slapstick and parody. He once told me there was no such thing as a sex scene that couldn't be improved by cutaways to Demolition Derby or rocket launches.

Meyer was born March 21, 1922 in San Leandro, Ca., and raised in the Oakland area by a mother who gave him his first 8-mm movie camera. He enlisted at 18 in the U. S. Army Signal Corps, learned motion picture photography in an Army school at MGM, and found World War II "the greatest experience of my life."

He was often assigned to Gen. George Patton, and told of being taken along one night late in the war, to shoot the newsreel footage when Patton assembled a strike force to dart across the lines and capture Hitler - who was believed to be visiting the front. The report was false, Hitler was not captured, Patton issued dire warnings to anyone who spoke of the raid, and Meyer was denied the greatest newsreel scoop in history.

On another assignment, he filmed the original Dirty Dozen before they were parachuted into France, and E. M. Nathanson's best-selling novel credits Meyer as its source. "In the real story," Meyer said, "they disappeared and were never heard of again."

In peacetime Meyer and other Signal Corps cameramen found themselves frozen out of the cinematographer's union. He made industrial and educational films, and then drifted into cheesecake. More than half of the first year's Playboy Playmates were photographed by Meyer. Observing Hugh Hefner's success at retailing nude images of young, wholesome-looking women, Meyer tried the same approach in "Mr. Teas." Films exploiting nudity had been consigned to marginal theaters and burlesque houses, but "Teas" won mainstream distribution, played for a year in some of its first engagements, and defined the rest of Meyer's career.

He made one film after another, all of them involving unlikely plots, incongruous settings and abundantly voluptuous actresses. "Where do you find those women?" I asked him. "After they reach a certain bra size," he said, "they find me." He disapproved of silicone implants: "They miss the whole point."

Meyer's titles were entertaining in themselves: "Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!" and "Mud Honey," both made in 1965, were taken as names by 1990s rock bands, and director John Waters said "Pussycat" was the greatest film of all time. Other directors who praised his work included Jonathan Demme, who always uses Meyer's favorite actor Charles Napier in his movies, and John Landis. Mike Meyers used music and dialog from "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" in his "Austin Powers" pictures.

Other titles included "Motor Psycho" (1965-a busy year), "Common Law Cabin" and "Good Morning...and Goodbye!" (both 1967), "Finders Keepers, Lovers Weepers!" (1968), "Vixen" (1968), "Cherry, Harry and Raquel" (1970), "Blacksnake" (1973), "Supervixens" (1975), "Up!" (1976), and "Beneath the Valley of the Ultra-Vixens" (1979), which I co-wrote. In the 1980s he announced an epic film to be called "The Breast of Russ Meyer," but it was never completed. He did publish a massive three-volume, 17-pound, 1210-page, $199 autobiography, (ital) A Clean Breast (unital) (2000). "It keeps you turning the pages even when you can't lift the book," wrote Time magazine film critic Richard Corliss, who called "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" one of the 10 best films of the 1970s.

After I wrote a letter to the Wall Street Journal praising Meyer's work we met and became friends, and when he was summoned by Fox to make "Beyond the Valley of the Dolls" he asked me to write the screenplay. We produced it in six weeks, making it up as we went along, laughing aloud, although in directing it Meyer urged the actors to perform with complete seriousness. The film cost $900,000, grossed $40 million, and became a cult favorite; the Sex Pistols punk rock band saw it in London in the late 1970s and hired Meyer to direct and me to write a film for them. "Who Killed Bambi?" (1978) shot for only one day before the Pistols' production company went bankrupt.

Russ Meyer made X-rated movies, but he was not a dirty old man. He didn't use the casting couch, prohibited sex on his sets ("save it for the camera"), and was a serial monogamist. He married Eve Meyer in 1955, and later photographed her as a Playmate; they had a friendly divorce in 1970 and continued to work together until her death in an airplane crash. His 1970 marriage to starlet Edy Williams was not so happy, and inspired a scene in "Supervixens" where the hero's wife attacks his pickup with an axe. In later years his most frequent companion was Kitten Natividad, who starred in "Ultra-Vixens."

He was a loyal friend. He stayed in lifelong contact with his Signal Corps comrades, organizing local and national reunions and sending tickets to those who needed them. He worked with the same crew members again and again. In a field known for devaluing women, he treated the actresses in his movies with affection and respect. Haji, Uschi Digard, Tura Satana, Kitten Natividad and the "BVD" stars Dolly Read, Cynthia Myers, Marcia McBroom and Erica Gavin stayed in contact and attended reunions.

His films were unique in that the women were always the strong characters, and men were the mindless sex objects. The film critic B. Ruby Rich called him "the first feminist American director." Meyer took praise with a grain of salt. After "The Seven Minutes" (1971), an attempt at a serious mainstream big studio picture, flopped at the box office, he told me: "I made the mistake of reading my reviews. What the public wants are big laughs and big tits and lots of 'em. Lucky for me that's what I like, too."

Copyright © Chicago Sun-Times Inc.


Actress Janet Leigh Dies at 77

LOS ANGELES - Janet Leigh, the wholesome beauty whose shocking murder in the classic Alfred Hitchcock thriller "Psycho" was credited with making generations of film fans think twice about stepping into a motel room shower, has died at her Beverly Hills home, her daughter's publicist confirmed Monday. She was 77.

The actress' husband, Robert Brandt, and her daughters, actresses Kelly Curtis and Jamie Lee Curtis, were at their mother's side when she died Sunday, said Heidi Schaeffer, a spokeswoman for Jamie Lee Curtis.

"She died peacefully at home," Schaeffer told The Associated Press.

Lee had suffered from vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels, for the past year.

The stunning blonde beauty enjoyed a long and distinguished career, appearing in such films as the 1962 political thriller "The Manchurian Candidate" and in Orson Welles' 1958 film noir classic "Touch of Evil."

But she gained her most lasting fame in "Psycho" as the embezzling office worker who is stabbed to death in the shower by cross-dressing madman Anthony Perkins. The role earned her an Oscar nomination as best supporting actress.

Hitchcock compiled the shower sequence in 70-odd takes of two and three seconds each, for which Leigh spent seven days in the shower. Rumors circulated that she was nude, but she wore a flesh-colored moleskin.

Although tame by today's standards, the scene was shocking for the time for its brutality.

Leigh wrote in her 1995 book "Psycho: Behind the Scenes in the Classic Thriller" that the filming was easy until the last 20 seconds when she had to express total horror as her character was being slashed to death.

She often said she hadn't been able to take a shower since the movie. "It's not a hype, not something I thought would be good for publicity," she insisted. "Honest to gosh, it's true."

:yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:  :yabbse-cry:

This passing is a tough one for me. Not only because she starred in one of my favorite movies of all time, but because I had the honor of meeting Ms. Leigh and she autographed a Psycho poster for me that now hangs in the bathroom.
"Don't think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it's good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art." - Andy Warhol

Skeleton FilmWorks


yeah thats really sad.  she always seemed to be doing well in any interviews i'd seen her in recently.  :cry:
Christopher Nolan's directive was clear to everyone in the cast and crew: Use CGI only as a last resort.


i watched psycho twice last night


Quote from: 03i watched psycho twice last night

Then you did your part.
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

grand theft sparrow

I stabbed two people in hotel showers last night.  But then I realized that that was a more accurate tribute to Anthony Perkins.

So instead, I got married to Charlton Heston in Mexico to make up for it.


Rodney Dangerfield just passed away today.
LOS ANGELES - Rodney Dangerfield, the bug-eyed comic whose self-deprecating one-liners brought him stardom in clubs, television and movies and made his lament "I don't get no respect" a catchphrase, died Tuesday. He was 82.
Dangerfield, who fell into a coma after undergoing heart surgery, died at 1:20 p.m., said publicist Kevin Sasaki. Dangerfield had a heart valve replaced Aug. 25 at the University of California, Los Angeles, Medical Center.

Sasaki said in a statement that Dangerfield suffered a small stroke after the operation and developed infectious and abdominal complications. But in the past week he had emerged from the coma, the publicist said.

"When Rodney emerged, he kissed me, squeezed my hand and smiled for his doctors," Dangerfield's wife, Joan, said in the statement. The comic is also survived by two children from a previous marriage.

As a comic, Dangerfield — clad in a black suit, red tie and white shirt with collar that seemed too tight — convulsed audiences with lines such as: "When I was born, I was so ugly that the doctor slapped my mother"; "When I started in show business, I played one club that was so far out my act was reviewed in Field and Stream"; and "Every time I get in an elevator, the operator says the same thing to me: `Basement?'"

In a 1986 interview, he explained the origin of his "respect" trademark:

"I had this joke: `I played hide and seek; they wouldn't even look for me.' To make it work better, you look for something to put in front of it: I was so poor, I was so dumb, so this, so that. I thought, `Now what fits that joke?' Well, `No one liked me' was all right. But then I thought, a more profound thing would be, `I get no respect.'"

He tried it at a New York club, and the joke drew a bigger response than ever. He kept the phrase in the act, and it seemed to establish a bond with his audience. After hearing him perform years later, Jack Benny remarked: "Me, I get laughs because I'm cheap and 39. Your image goes into the soul of everyone."

Dangerfield had a strange career in show business. At 19 he started as a standup comedian. He made only a fair living, traveling a great deal and appearing in rundown joints. Married at 27, he decided he couldn't support a family on his meager earnings.

He returned to comedy at 42 and began to attract notice. He appeared on the Ed Sullivan show seven times and on "The Tonight Show" with Johnny Carson more than 70 times.

After his standout film role in "Caddyshack," he began starring in his own movies.

He was born Jacob Cohen on Nov. 22, 1921, on New York's Long Island. Growing up in the borough of Queens, his mother was uncaring and his father was absent. As Philip Roy, the father and his brother toured in vaudeville as a pantomime comedy-juggling act, Roy and Arthur. Young Jacob's parents divorced, and the mother struggled to support her daughter and son.

The boy helped bring in money by selling ice cream at the beach and working for a grocery store. "I found myself going to school with kids and then in the afternoon I'd be delivering groceries to their back door," he recalled. "I ended up feeling inferior to everybody."

He ingratiated himself to his schoolmates by being funny; at 15 he was writing down jokes and storing them in a duffel bag. When he was 19, he adopted the name Jack Roy and tried out the jokes at a resort in the Catskills, training ground for Danny Kaye, Jerry Lewis, Red Button, Sid Caesar and other comedians. The job paid $12 a week plus room and meals.

In New York, he drove a laundry and fish truck, taking time off to hunt for work as a comedian. The jobs came slowly, but in time he was averaging $300 a week.

He married Joyce Indig, a singer he met at a New York club. Both had wearied of the uncertainty of a performer's life.

"We wanted to lead a normal life," he remarked in a 1986 interview. "I wanted a house and a picket fence and kids, and the heck with show business. Love is more important, you see. When the show is over, you're alone."

The couple settled in Englewood, N.J., had two children, Brian and Melanie, and he worked selling paint and siding. But the idyllic suburban life soured as the pair battled. The couple divorced in 1962, remarried a year later and again divorced.

In 1993, Dangerfield married Joan Child, a flower importer.

At age 42, he returned to show business. He remembered in 1986:

"It was like a need. I had to work. I had to tell jokes. I had to write them and tell them. It was like a fix. I had the habit."

Even during his domestic years, he continued filling the duffel bag with jokes. He didn't want to break in his new act with any notice, so he asked the owner of New York's Inwood Lounge, George McFadden, not to bill him as Jack Roy. McFadden came up with the absurd name Rodney Dangerfield. It stuck.

Dangerfield's bookings improved, and he landed television gigs. After his ex-wife died, he took over the responsibility of raising his two children. He decided to quit touring and open a New York nightclub, Dangerfield's, so he could stay close to home. A beer commercial and the Carson shows brought him national attention.

His film debut came in 1971 with "The Projectionist," which he described as "the kind of a movie that you went to the location on the subway." He did better in 1980 with "Caddyshack," in which he held his own with such comics as Chevy Chase, Ted Knight and Bill Murray.

Despite his good reviews, Dangerfield claimed he didn't like movies or TV series: "Too much waiting around, too much memorizing; I need that immediate feedback of people laughing."

Still, he continued starring in and sometimes writing films such as "Easy Money," "Back to School," "Moving," "The Scout," "Ladybugs" and "Meet Wally Sparks." He turned dramatic as a sadistic father in Oliver Stone's 1994 "Natural Born Killers."

In 1995, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences rejected Dangerfield's application for membership. A letter from Roddy McDowall of the actors branch explained that the comedian had failed to execute "enough of the kinds of roles that allow a performer to demonstrate the mastery of his craft."

The ultimate rejection, and Dangerfield played it to the hilt. He had established his own Web site ("I went out and bought an Apple Computer; it had a worm in it"), and his fans used it to express their indignation. The public reaction prompted the academy to reverse itself and offer membership. Dangerfield declined.

"They don't even apologize or nothing," he said. "They give no respect at all — pardon the pun — to comedy."
"As a matter of fact I only work with the feeling of something magical, something seemingly significant. And to keep it magical I don't want to know the story involved, I just want the hypnotic effect of it somehow seeming significant without knowing why." - Len Lye

El Duderino

Did I just get cock-blocked by Bob Saget?


Quote from: hacksparrowI stabbed two people in hotel showers last night.  But then I realized that that was a more accurate tribute to Anthony Perkins.

So instead, I got married to Charlton Heston in Mexico to make up for it.


haha i'm just kidding.
Falling in love is the greatest joy in life. Followed closely by sneaking into a gated community late at night and firing a gun into the air.


My god, Rodney Dangerfield...

This is deeply saddening news.

Rest In Peace.