Thursday, October 13, 2016

Linda Lovelace For President

Linda Lovelace was, at best, an unconventional movie star. By this point, she had left porn behind her and her Svengali with it. An attempt at stage acting in a sexy farce had flopped but LINDA LOVELACE FOR PRESIDENT seemed a step in the right direction to continue her stardom on at least a slightly more legitimate level.

Behind the scenes you had producers, directors, and writers from LAUGH-IN, PERRY MASON, and I DREAM OF JEANNIE, as well as the nephew of one of the founders of Archie Comics, all working basically under the guidance of the multi-talented David Winters, a close friend of Linda's (and also of Christa Helm!) who had worked as an actor/dancer, director, writer, and/or choreographer on a dozen award winning TV specials and episodes.

Surrounding Linda with an "all-star cast" of third tier familiar celebrity faces seemed a good idea, too. These included ex-Monkee Micky Dolenz, Marty Ingels, Joe E. Ross, Chuck McCann, Scatman Crothers, Monte Landis, and a man associated with a real President, Vaughn Meader!

The problem was that they were all terrible, trapped in a rambling, pointless, unfunny script, and Linda was--as she herself lamented--still NOT an actual actress. 

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Foul Play

In 1978, my parents and I all attended a Saturday night sneak preview of an upcoming movie comedy called FOUL PLAY. Although a major film buff by that point (age 19) I had heard nothing about this picture in advance. The showing was in downtown Cincinnati at the Times Towne Theatre and there wasn't an empty seat in the house. Never in my life--before or since-- have I heard that much laughter in a theater!

I had always liked Goldie Hawn but I had never been a major fan like so many. From this point on, though, I was. This was the first actual acting role in a movie (although not his first film) for TV phenom, Chevy Chase. He was perfect--handsome, charming, amusing, witty, romantic--literally everything the role called for! Sadly, his career choices and real-life attitudes would ensure that he never lived up to the enormous potential shown here in spite of multiple opportunities. 

The plot--originally to be called THE BLOOD ON THE POPCORN--is essentially a Hitchcock riff done up as romantic comedy, with a murder, a mystery, and an innocent young woman caught up in a conspiracy.

The great score includes a Barry Manilow song and the great direction is from Colin Higgins who would sadly die far too young with far too few movies left as his legacy. The great supporting cast includes Burgess Meredith, Brian Dennehy, Rachel Roberts, Billy Barty, Eugene Roche and, in a solo career making turn as a piano playing perv, the great Dudley Moore!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Geo. Washington Slept Here

I realize, of course, that "GEO." is short for "GEORGE" but I'm still surprised that it was used in so  much of the advertising and promotional material for this classic Jack Benny/Ann Sheridan comedy.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Dear Brigitte-1965

When I was a kid, Billy Mumy was on everything on television. This includes now classic roles on TWILIGHT ZONE, BEWITCHED, and, of course, every single week on LOST IN SPACE. While he never quite made it as big on the big screen, he does hold one major claim to fame in movies and that's that he co-starred with French sex symbol Brigitte Bardot in her only American movie!

Jimmy Stewart is the nominal star replacing originally announced Bing Crosby and playing the absent-,minded father of Erasmus Leaf, a math prodigy who gains some measure of fame and whose sister's boyfriend utilizes his talents to help him win at the races. Billy was cast as Erasmus at the recommendation of Stewart's wife, Gloria. 

Erasmus is completely enamored of BB, however, and while she appears in only what amounts to a brief cameo (which she was reportedly reluctant to do) her "presence" dominates the film and the Erasmus character.

As a kid, I found the film warm and funny and, being a smart kid with celebrity crushes myself, could relate. As an adult, I watch it and see my own son David--a math prodigy now in college studying to be a math professor)--in Billy's performance.

For whatever reason, Bardot never made another American picture. She did do a couple of English language films, but they were European produced. Bill Mumy went on to continue his long career as a musician, writer, and actor to this very day.