Burlesque on Carmen

One of my favorite movies from Charlie Chaplin.

That movie wasn’t the first contact I had with Charlie, I had heard of him, but must say, with some shame, that until 2012, I hadn’t watched anything from and about him, until I found that channel, where they showed many classics, and Charlie Chaplin was one of them. It was on this channel that I watched Burlesque on Carmen for the first time ever.

Lucky me that they would always repeat the episodes, so I guess I watched it three or four times, and one of these times, I recorded it with my phone (Still have it saved… it was on October 22, 2012), but I just got this movie, in a better quality.

Edna Purviance played Carmen, and it was also through this movie that I could take a better look at her and her talent, although she was a guaranteed presence in many of his works (I read about Charlie liking her).

Burlesque on Carmen is Charlie Chaplin’s thirteenth and last film for Essanay Studios, released in 1915 and then later recut into a different version in 1916. Charlie Chaplin played Darn Hosiery and Edna Purviance played Carmen. Carmen was very popular at this time and two films under this title had already been released in 1915, one by Raoul Walsh where Theda Bara played Carmen and one by Cecil B. DeMille where the part was played by Geraldine Farrar. Chaplin’s version is a parody of DeMille’s film, following closely its structure and using very similar sets and costumes.

The film was released in two reels at the end of 1915 when Chaplin’s contract with Essanay Studios was up. The studio added two reels worth of additional non-Chaplin material and re-released the film in 1916.

I found this link, where they say the movie, is available for free download, but also you can watch on Youtube, where the quality of the movie seems to be better than this one.

Absolutely fascinating how movies from 1910s are… I really just started understanding about real good movies when I started checking for the classics… Took me 26 years to finally understand this, but it is never too late.

MAILA NURMI aka VAMPIRA

Another topic from my old blog: Maila Nurmi.

Maila represents something that is fully related to my interest: Halloween, and as she said once that she started representing Halloween, she was an actress I had a big pleasure of learning about.

Maila was born in Finland, precisely in Petsamo on December 11, 1922.

She moved still a child with her parents to United Stated and they settled on a Finnish community in Ashtabula, Ohio till 1939, later she moved with her family to Oregon where she attended a high school in Astoria.

Before Elvira and other goth girls from Hollywood, there was Maila, who basically started everything, what happened by accident when she attended to a Ball, a Halloween Ball in 1953 dressed in a dress inspired in Charles Addams’ New Yorker magazine drawings.

She won first prize and was soon tracked down by a KABC producer looking for a late-night hostess who would do skits and introduce old horror films that were newly syndicated for television. Nurmi played it up as a camp vamp – a busty beatnik/wise cracking pun-loving sexpot with a stunning 38-17-36 figure. Her first husband screenwriter Dean Riesner suggested the character name “Vampira”.

Her show debuted in In 1954, Vampira made her TV debut on Friday, April 30, 1954 and lasted until April 2, 1955.

Vampira’s personality was based on elements of several silent film actresses including Theda Bara and Gloria Swanson. The Vampira character was influenced by the Evil Queenfrom Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and from the Dragon Lady character in the Terry and the Pirates comic strip. The new costume was inspired by the artwork of John Willie featured in the fetish magazine Bizarre.

Sadly, I never had the chance to watch her show because find it is really hard, the only thing I could find, it was the opening of it, but she introduced horror movies on her show, almost like Elvira did, she was a horror hostess.

Nurmi told the press, she kept her “ghoulish figure” from a diet of of boiled eggs, orange juice and graham crackers.

In 1955, The Vampira Show was cancelled. Nurmi was almost killed, on June 20th, when a homicidal man reportedly forced his way into her apartment and terrorized her for four hours. Nurmi managed to escape and called the police.

In 1956, Ed Wood contacted Nurmi to appear in his low-budget film Grave Robbers from Outer Space (later called Plan 9 from Outer Space) which incorporated the last footage of Bela Lugosi. Nurmi agreed to do the one-day part for $200 – but only if she didn’t have to say the horrible dialogue.”Nobody’s ever gonna see this movie, it doesn’t matter,” she said.  Nurmi would later say she took pity on Wood (“I always pity people who aren’t very bright.”).

We all know that sometimes, Hollywood isn’t something for sure, you may be on top one day and not being remembered the next one, and although this did not happen fully with Maila, she started showing up less, and she reached a point where she cleaned celebrities houses and sold, and she opened a store where she sold jewelry and clothing called: Vampira Attic.

Maila had problems with Cassandra Peterson aka Elvira in 1989 for infringement of intellectual property. Basically what Maila meant was that Cassandra stole her look as Vampira, that she was copying her and she asked for $10 million dollar of lawsuit, but she dropped it because of lack of funds.

I personally adore Elvira as much as I adore Vampira, and in fact they resemble, not only for the Goth presence, the fact they were horror hostess, and both were funny as well, so this is something complicated for me to discuss related to why, Maila did that because I like her and would not like to say something that might sound not good, but while they had some things alike, I did not see Cassandra was using Vampira with some modifications.

But Maila took a real dislike for Cassandra saying things like: “I’m just waiting for her plastic surgery to backfire – for her bosoms to poison her.” and calling her “slimy”

Here is the link of NURMI vs PETERSON

In 1994, Tim Burton released the brilliant film Ed Wood with actress/model Lisa Marie in the role of Vampira, and Maila sent Tim Burton a letter not allowing him to use anything related to Vampira (Tried to find a screenshot I had taken of the page, but I could not…sorry. But it was from her facebook page).

By the early 2000s, Nurmi appeared as a commentator on several E! TV shows about Ed Wood and James Dean. She was also interviewed in the documentaries Schlock! The Secret History of American Movies (2001), American Scary (2006) and Vampira: The Movie (2006).

Maila passed away at her house, at the age of 85, of cardiac arrest in Los Angeles. She was alone and her body was found by a friend, being mildly decomposed. Maila was wearing a brown t-shirt, black underwear and socks, and a dead cat, supposedly, was found in her apartment, that wasn’t exactly neat by the time. She was divorced, but had no children.

“I don’t have any babies or any social history that’s remarkable, so I’m leaving something behind, you know, when the time comes to say goodbye, I’m leaving something,” she said in an interview with KABC’s Eyewitness News.

She was cremated and had a service held for her at Hollywood Forever on Sunday, February 17, 2008.

Fans made donation to buy her a proper marker. (Here you can read a little bit more of her Funeral attended by the owner of Find a death web page)

A footage of her Funeral:

After the burial:

Her grave nowadays

http://www.pentaxforums.com

Hopefully soon I can make my way to pay her a visit, as well as to Marilyn Monroe.

Screaming relaxes me so….

Sources:

Maila Nurmi Obituary

Vampira and Elvira

Article on Maila’s life and death

Maila Nurmi on Find a Death (where I got some quotes from)

Maila Nurmi on Wikipedia

Maila Nurmi on FindAGrave

Bonanza

So, here I go again to write about one of my favorite shows ever.

It as in 2012 that I found out about Bonanza and also started watching some of old Classics, and after that I can say that I became highly addicted to this show.

I still watch it, even though not on TV anymore because they seem to have stopped exhibiting it, and I lost my chane of buying the first season when I found it for sale last year.

Mostly I watch some episodes, and also downloaded 3 of them via Youtube, but yesterday I found a nice way of watching through an app that came with my new laptop, called: Timeon, that can be downloaded via GooglePlay, which means that now I can watch it wherever i go and whenever I want, even more than I would watch on my laptop.

There is a channel that shows Bonanza 24 hours, I presume all the seasons, not sure yet, for I am not watching 24 hours, but I think so, just like there is a channel only for The Lucy Show and Charlie Chaplin (Sadly no bewichted, The three stooges and few others).

Anyway, I like things about the Western, even old movies, that i started liking in 2012, but Bonanza is on the top of it.

I like all of them, but Adam is my less favorite, I must admit that, but I like him a little bit.

Now, about my favorites… well… I cant pick one once they are so different, but if i put in order… I must say: Little Joe, Hoss, Ben and then Adam.

It’s funny how much we can become addicted to a show that we never thought we would even watch someday… I had heard of Bonanza before, but never had the curiosity of watching an episode, until I saw myself surfing through channels and had a glimpse at one of the episodes, and i remember which it was: Day of Reckoning:

I caught the episode still in the beginning and once I thought there wasn’t anything I liked watching on TV, I decided to watch it, and when I noticed, I was anxious for the next episode… so this is how my love for Bonanza started.

I think I watched mostly the episodes of the second season, beccause on Friday they showed some episodes from the first season and I didn’t remember any of them, and the season that I found for sale by 20 Euros last year, it was the first season.

Also through Bonanza, I found out about Michael Landon, that became an actor that I started liking, what drove me to watch also Little House on the Prairie, that is another serie that I enjoy a lot, and that, also, I sarted watching while waiting for a show that I liked.

I started searching about the actors and everything, and find out that Dan was the first one to pass away surprised me, and that his death led to a tribute on Bonanza. He was said to be one of the beloved from the cast and obviously his passing was really felt by everybody who worked with him, as well as his fans.

I like Hoss’s sweet personality, this is what made me see him as my second favorite!

Not all shows that we see are as sucessfull as Bonanza was, taking in account that by the time, they didn’t have all this technology, but something that I didn’t like it was the fact we don’t see Black actors, and I remember reading something that when they introduced or wanted to introduce a black character, the audience didn’t seem to react well, or that was one of their worried.

I am sorry if I am not with the right information, I haven’t watched all the seasons yet, but I believe this is true based on the year the show ran, but still it was a great show that I appreciate a lot.

This is another episode that I enjoy a lot. I watched on TV and downloaded later.

Lillian Gish

Miss Lillian Diana Gish… absolutely no doubt she is my favorite actress from the Golden era of Hollywood.

I became her fan in 2013 (I know, it took a long time), but I can say it was basically, admiration at the first sight.

I was looking on google for the old Hollywood actresses when I came across a picture of Lillian and I remember thinking she looked like a doll, and i had to find out the name of that lady.

One thing took to another and when I noticed I was saving every picture of her I could find and also making researches to know more about her, bought the book: Life and Lillian Gish and started watching her movies on Youtube until I bought Orphans of the Storm, that is a great movie.

Recently I bought Whales of August, that was her last movie.

Lillian fascinated me from the beginning, she was surely a bewitching woman, and everything that she added to the Cinema, she was really the first Lady of it, I think that, although we saw many talented actresses, none of them could ever be compared to Lillian in many ways.

She is, indeed, a name I love to mention when I talk about The old Hollywood, so I make sure that, those who don’t know her yet, will start knowing, because in my opinion, she is in fact, an actress that must be always remembered.

Gish was born in Springfield, Ohio, to Mary Robinson McConnell (1875-1948) (an Episcopalian) and James Leigh Gish (1872-1912) (who was of German Lutheran descent).She had a younger sister, Dorothy.

The first several generations of Gishes were Dunkard ministers. Her great-great-great-grandfather came to America on the shipPennsylvania Merchant in 1733 and received a land grant from William Penn. Her great-great-grandfather was in the American Revolutionary War and is buried in a cemetery in Pennsylvania for such soldiers. Letters between Gish and a Pennsylvania college professor indicate that her knowledge of her family background was limited.

Gish’s father left the family before she was old enough to remember him; her mother then took up acting to support the family. The family moved to East St. Louis, Illinois, where they lived for several years with Lillian’s aunt and uncle, Henry and Rose McConnell. Their mother opened the Majestic Candy Kitchen and the girls helped sell popcorn and candy to patrons of the old Majestic Theater, located next door. The girls attended St. Henry’s School, where they acted in school plays.

The girls were living with their aunt Emily in Massillon, Ohio, when they were notified by their uncle that their father, James, was gravely ill in Oklahoma. Lillian traveled to Shawnee, Oklahoma, to see her father, who by then was institutionalized in an Oklahoma City hospital. She saw him briefly and stayed with her aunt and uncle, Alfred Grant and Maude Gish, in Shawnee and attended school there. She wrote to her sister Dorothy that she was thinking of staying and finishing high school and then going to college, but she missed her family. Her father died in Norman, Oklahoma, January 9, 1912, and, soon after, Lillian returned to Ohio.

When the theater next to the candy store burned down, the family moved to New York, where the girls became good friends with a next door neighbor, Gladys Smith. Gladys was a child actress who did some work for director D.W. Griffith and later took the stage name Mary Pickford. When Lillian and Dorothy were old enough, they joined the theatre, often traveling separately in different productions. They also took modeling jobs.

In 1912, their friend Mary Pickford introduced the sisters to D. W. Griffith and helped get them contracts with Biograph Studios. Lillian Gish would soon become one of America’s best loved actresses. Although she was already nineteen, she gave her age as 16 to the studio.

The sisters debuted in Griffith’s short film An Unseen Enemy (1912).

Lillian was 28 years old when she starred in Broken Blossom, playing a 16 year-old girl, what was really a great movie that made me see even more what that lady was capable of, the talent that she had.

Her two most famous scenes are: The Smile and The Closet Scene.

I read that Lillian got everybody unaware during the Closet scene, she was so real on her panic, that Griffth later told her that she should have told him about what she was going to do, not even Griffth was waiting for that.

I can say with every word and intention, that sadly we don’t see actresses with this potential in Hollywood nowadays, none of them clearly can cause the impact that Lillian Gish could cause, that is why I think everybody really should know who she was and what she represented and still represents for those who appreciate real good movies and natural and real talent.

Gish never married or had children. The association between Gish and D. W. Griffith was so close that some suspected a romantic connection, an issue never acknowledged by Gish, although several of their associates were certain they were at least briefly involved. For the remainder of her life, she always referred to him as “Mr. Griffith.” Lillian Gish was the sister of actress Dorothy Gish. Gish was a survivor of the 1918 flu pandemic.

She was involved with producer Charles Duell and drama critic and editor George Jean Nathan. In the 1920s, Gish’s association with Duell was something of a tabloid scandal because he had sued her and made the details of their relationship public.

During the period of political turmoil in the US that lasted from the outbreak of WWII in Europe until the attack on Pearl Harbor, she maintained an outspoken non-interventionist stance. She was an active member of the America First Committee, an anti-intervention organization founded by retired General Robert E. Wood with aviation pioneer Charles Lindbergh as its leading spokesman. She said she was blacklisted by the film and theater industries until she signed a contract in which she promised to cease her anti-interventionist activities and never disclose the fact that she had agreed to do so.

She maintained a very close relationship with her sister Dorothy, as well as with Mary Pickford, for her entire life. Another of her closest friends was actress Helen Hayes; Gish was the godmother of Hayes’s son James MacArthur.

She died in her sleep of heart failure, age 99, and is interred beside her sister Dorothy at Saint Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in New York City. Her estate was valued at several million dollars, the bulk of which went toward to the creation of the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize Trust.

She was named 17th among the greatest female stars of all time by American Film Institute.

She was awarded an honorary Oscar in 1971, and in 1984 she received an AFI Life Achievement award. Gish, an American icon, was also awarded in the Kennedy Center Honors.

Books about Lillian:

1) The Movies, Mr. Griffith, and Me (with Ann Pinchot) (Prentice-Hall, 1969)

2) Dorothy and Lillian Gish (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1973)

3) An Actor’s Life For Me (with Selma G. Lanes) (Viking Penguin, 1987)

4) Lillian Gish: Her Legend, her life

5) Lillian Gish: a life on the stage and screen

*You can read: Life and Lillian Gish here

*Wikipedia

*Find a Grave

*IMDB

*Official Web Page

My opinion about: Lolita

It was in 1999, I believe that I had the first look of Lolita!

I had heard the name before, but it was in 99 that I watched on a Monday night, the 1997 movie and I got surprised at the content of the movie for many reasons, that I shall present later.

After watching this movie, that my mother watched with me, she got terrified, and I got curious. I was 13 by the time, and my mother thought it was too heavy.

No dvd era and the local blockbuster didn’t have this movie on VHS, so I couldn’t watch again, and maybe the TV wouldn’t exhibit it so soon, so I got the book on a promotion that had been released about classics.

I remember it wasn’t easy for my mom to buy this promotion because she remembered well the movie, but I didnt think the book would be this explicit as the 97 version was, so after begging a lot, my mom gave to me because we are bookworms, and she felt bad on denying me a book.

That book became one of my favorites, and I still have a copy, but in PDF now, as well as two copies of this movie, the first one from 1962 and the 1997, that my mom still doesn’t like.

I got the first version on DVD in 2005, but later I changed with a local blockbuster for the VHS of the second version, and I believe, 2 years ago, I got the 1962 version again and I ended up watching more than the second version because I started getting addicted to the Old Hollywood.

Those who watched both versions know clearly the differences.

The 1962 version is lighter due to the time, obviously they knew Lolita was a strong book already, although Nabokov wouldn’t be this explicit, and they made this version hiding and changing few things.

Sue Lyon versus Dominique Swain: Well…both of them were great as Lolita, but I think Dominique played Lolita better because she had that innocent look but also that provocative side, and she really gave life to Lolita in a way that was beyond the original one from the book was.

Sue Lyon
Dominique Swain

Jeremy irons versus James Manson: God… I adore Jeremy Irons, but how I hated his Humbert on Lolita! I am not talking about his talent, he played so well the role that I felt disgusted, this is what I mean, the nature of Humbert. Obviously in 1962, they wouldn’t put James Manson to act that way, mainly because both girls were still underage, Dominique Swain was 17 years old and Sue Lyon was 16 when they made Lolita, and some scenes were really too heavy. But I saw more realism on Irons than on Manson, clearly because of the difference of the years the movies were made.

Jeremy Irons and Dominique Swain
James Manson and Sue Lyon

Shelley Winters versus Melanie Griffth: Both were perfect. Shelley was really funny as Charlotte Haze, she was splendid, like she was meant to be and has always been on every movie she was part of. Melanie was also perfect as Charlotte, I love Melanie’s voice, and loved her on Lolita because she looked more like the Charlotte from the book related to Lolita. They explored more how mother felt about the daughter on the second version, and the part where Charlotte finds out about Humbert was more dramatic, if I can put this way, on the second version

Shelley Winters and James Manson
Melanie Griffth and Jeremy Irons

Of course the 1997 had a polemic with the sex scenes!

We can see, at least twice, strong scenes on this movie: one in a motel, during a rocking chair scene that, personally, disturbed me, and the other one, almost by the end of the movie, in the bed, that was also more disturbing because money was involved.

This is what was written about the 1997 version, taken from the Wikipedia“Lolita is not a sex film; it’s about characters, relationships, and the consequences of imprudent actions. And those who seek to brand the picture as immoral have missed the point. Both Humbert and Lolita are eventually destroyed—what could be more moral? The only real controversy I can see surrounding this film is why there was ever a controversy in the first place.”

But still, it received many positive critics, because the movie is really amazing and we can see more of Humbert on the second version, than in the first one, and in my opinion, the 1997 version was a lot better, shocking in some aspects, but the best version.

I started wondering how it would be if they made a new version, who they would cast? How they would present Humbert? would it be a better version than the last one?

When people ask about my favorite books, I name two of them that I am really addicted to: Diary of a Wimpy kid (Yes), and Lolita, and when I talk about Lolita, I always recommend people to watch both movies.

Once I was asked which version I liked the most and I said it was the second one, but I said that I think the person should watch both movies, instead picking only one, so they could see the difference between these 2 movies, about the story and the characters as well.

I am not exactly the kind of person who can write a review for a movie, I am mostly expressing my opinion about it, it may not be a great one, but learning about blogging everyday.

Thank you 🙂

Was Marilyn Monroe Racist?

This was my most important post on my previous blog, something I felt I had to do do after things I heard coming from people who liked Marilyn Monroe.

I had said that, people tend to think some celebrities are racist based on absurd things, and this happened to Marilyn Monroe.

I had read a comment of a girl saying that Marilyn Monroe was racist, once we all know how difficult it was for Black actors and actresses to make it big in the Old Hollywood. There were many of these actors and actresses that could be seen on the movies, but indeed, they played small parts, and sometimes their faces didn’t even show up, like on the first version of Lolita.

But, Marilyn Monroe wasn’t racist, and wouldn’t take much time for people to see this, if they could take some time to educate themselves on this matter.

All right, so Lets go!

Marilyn Monroe helped the career of Ella Fitzgerald.

“The year was 1955 and, unthinkably, black singers were not allowed to perform in leading nightclubs. It was also the year that Marilyn Monroe, tired of being cast as a helpless sex symbol, took a break from Los Angeles and headed to New York to find herself. Here she immersed herself in jazz, in particular the music of Ella Fitzgerald. In Fitzgerald’s melodies, Monroe recognized the creative genius she herself longed to possess.So when she discovered that, due to the colour bar, Fitzgerald was not permitted to play in her favourite nightclub, the Mocambo in Los Angeles, Monroe approached the manager, Charlie Morrison, and promised to sit in the front row for a week if he let Fitzgerald play. Morrison agreed to break the color bar and Fitzgerald would never again have to play in a small, second-rate jazz club. The two women became firm friends and discovered they had many things in common. Until now, their mutual history has not been widely known. But this week, Marilyn and Ella, a play by the black American writer Bonnie Greer about the friendship between Fitzgerald and Monroe, opens at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East.”

I already had a big respect and admiration for Marilyn due to everything that she went through and how she became the most iconic Hollywood actress and how things didn’t change until this time, but after learning about this, I feel like everything I felt for her, became stronger, because Marilyn really was a good woman.

People judged her and still judge her based on her look, and how she would act sometimes, but they never actually stopped to take a real close look of the person that she was and how things worked by that era.

Just like Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe is more remembered by her beauty than by other things, things that aren’t less important than what we would see when we looked at her, and this is where the problem is, people don’t learn about her the things that they should learn to be able to see her as more than a Sex Symbol, therefore, saying things like she was racist, when she clearly wasn’t.

I couldn’t simple come and say that she wasn’t without making a research about that, i didn’t want to give a false information on this. I knew from the beginning that she wasn’t racist, but wanted to present proofs, so there wouldn’t be more doubts to those who might come till my blog, like happened on the other one.

Here are some pictures:

The Original Post

Thank you, for stopping by!

1837 to 1980 (Victorian Era/Hollywood)