Origins: Lizzie

We've all heard the playground song, "Lizzie Borden took an axe, and gave her mother forty whacks," right? I don't know if kids still sing that, but if they do, I have to wonder if they know where the chant came from, or who Lizzie Borden was. For those who are unfamiliar with her, Lizzie … Continue reading Origins: Lizzie

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Joseph Cotten and the Mercury Players

Mr. Cotten, I presume. Joseph Cotten was an unusual actor. Sure, he was handsome and funny and could play a variety of roles, but he was also a late bloomer when it came to film. Born in 1905, he didn't make his stage debut until 1930 and his film debut in 1938. The latter is … Continue reading Joseph Cotten and the Mercury Players

Stage To Screen: Fiddler On the Roof

This really ought to be a "Page To Stage To Screen" look, because Fiddler On the Roof is based on a collection of short stories entitled Tevye And His Daughters, or Tevye the Dairyman, written by Sholem Aleichem, whose real name was Solomon Naumovich Rabinovich. First published in Yiddish in 1894, they are set in the Ukranian village of … Continue reading Stage To Screen: Fiddler On the Roof

And Now For Something Completely Different

Who's up for a little classic intrigue? Sometimes when a chance presents itself, there's nothing to do but take it (Within reason, of course). In the early nineteen-forties, Fred MacMurray was a durable rom-com guy, but 1944 brought him a new kind of opportunity--a role in Billy Wilder's Double Indemnity. Based on a story by James M. … Continue reading And Now For Something Completely Different

Everybody Plays the Fool

The Cold War was a serious, intense time, but it was also ripe for parody and satire. By far, the most famous example of this is the 1964 Stanley Kubrick film, Dr. Strangelove, or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Starring Peter Sellers and George C. Scott, it's an infamous and uncomfortably compelling … Continue reading Everybody Plays the Fool

Ingrid’s Casablanca

Welcome back, Ms. Bergman! What hasn't been said about Casablanca? What hasn't been asked about Casablanca? This is a film that's been parsed, analyzed, memorialized, quoted, parodied, and collected more homage than most films in history, with the exception of Citizen Kane and The Wizard of Oz, of course. What's left to be said? Plenty. It's a classic film that we … Continue reading Ingrid’s Casablanca

We’re Going To Mars

The Atomic Age didn't always mean doom and gloom and total annihilation. People also saw a whole new world of possibilities opening up to them. Like living on Mars, for instance, which Ray Bradbury explored in his 1950 novel, The Martian Chronicles.  Well, it's not exactly a novel. The book is culled from some of Bradbury's … Continue reading We’re Going To Mars

After the Bomb

Usually, the 1950s conjure up images of poodle skirts and James Dean, drive-ins and sock-hops. And probably Elvis. However, it was also the decade in which the Cold War went into deep freeze. Some people were affected by it more than others, and by far the biggest fear was of nuclear annihilation. The period was … Continue reading After the Bomb

Hostage Hotel

Even after his mobility became limited, Lionel Barrymore had a busy career right up to his death in 1954. While he was with MGM for decades, he was loaned out on many occasions, one of the later ones being the 1948 film, Key Largo. Barrymore's role is definitely memorable, and shows his power as an actor even … Continue reading Hostage Hotel

Rockets, Auks, and Arch Oboler

If you've been hanging around my blog for any length of time, you know I'm a big fan of radio playwright Arch Oboler. Best-known for his work on Lights Out and his own series, Arch Oboler's Plays, Oboler could take the most mundane ideas and make them fresh and compelling. He had a busy mind, and like many writers, … Continue reading Rockets, Auks, and Arch Oboler