Anne Helen Peterson continues to kill it with her scandals of classic Hollywood movies columns. On Natalie Wood:
Wood didn’t have tragedy mapped on her body the way that Marilyn Monroe or Judy Garland did. The signs of her struggle were far less obvious, in part because her rise was less mercurial, her handling of stardom somehow more balanced. She was a survivor, as cliched and Hallmark-movie-of-the-week as that sounds, and at various points in her career wielded more power than any of her male co-stars. She wasn’t a tremendous talent. She couldn’t really sing or dance. But she was a sex symbol for twenty years in a time when "sexual" was simultaneously the best and the worst thing a girl could possibly be, and she lived to tell the sad, screwy tale. And that, more than playing opposite James Dean, more than working herself into a true frenzy of repressed sexuality inSplendor in the Grass, evidences true talent. Not as an actress, per se, but as the makings of an image that will continue to endure.
And on Cary Grant:
During this first period of success, Grant had been living, on and off, with an actor named Randolph Scott. Grant and Scott had met on the set of Hot Saturday, where both men played suitors to the same leading lady. The two hit it off immediately and shared an apartment until Grant’s first marriage in 1934. After Grant’s divorce, it was 24-hour bro-time, and the two rented a sprawling seven-bedroom Santa Monica beach house, widely known as the “Bachelor Hall.”
Here’s where it becomes unclear whether Grant was just making fun of nosy gossip columnists or actually bisexual. The two had women over all the time — but hey, George Clooney also has many, many (vetted) girlfriends, and Tom Cruise has been married three times. Gossip columnists warned that the couple had “taken things too far”: while other stars posed for fan mag spreads with their wives, Grant and Scott reveled in homosocial domestic bliss.
But perhaps my favorite movie content on The Hairpin of late was the War Horse illustrated review by longtime horse-lover Lisa Hanawalt. Just a nibble of the equine excellence:
• If you explain how important something is to a horse, it will understand you and do that thing!
Over on brother site The Awl, "Mission Impossible": I Don't Understand How Tall Everyone Is
Tom Cruise and Jeremy Renner are the same height.
Ving Rhames is six feet tall.
Simon Pegg is taller than Tom Cruise.
Or is he.
Slow-clap props to Onion AV Club's Scott Tobias for this grade F review of the movie attached to one of the most noxious trailers I've seen in ages:
it will always be “too soon” for Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, which processes the immense grief of a city and a family through a conceit so nauseatingly precious that it’s somehow both too literary and too sentimental, cloying yet aestheticized within an inch of its life. It’s 9/11 through the eyes of a caffeinated 9-year-old Harper’s contributor.
Ideographtastic: The 1990s and 1980s film alphabets.
Via The Gibsonian Institute, this 1986 promo for an ill-fated Neuromancer adaptation,
Vote for your favorite Focus Features on Facebook in honor of its 10 anniversary.
Costume drama fans who've ever wondered, "Did Americans in 1776 have British accents? If so, when did American accents diverge from British accents?" Wonder no longer!
Finally, props for selecting the following as one of 2011's most memorable movie moments:
Press: So I’m going to ask you two very personal questions you may or may not want to answer. It’s completely up to you. Have you ever had a romantic relationship? In your entire life?
Cunningham: [Laughs delightedly.]Now do you wanna know if I’m gay?
Cunningham: [Laughs.] Isn’t that a riot. Well, that’s probably why the family wanted to keep me out of the fashion world. They wouldn’t speak of such a thing. [Pause.] No. I haven’t.
Press: Never in your entire life.
Cunningham: No. It’s never occurred to me. I guess I just was interested in clothes. That’s the obsession. It’s probably a little peculiar.
Press: Is that something you regret?
Cunningham: No, I wouldn’t even think about it. No, I don’t regret it. There was no time! I’m working night and day! No, it was—in my family, things like that were never discussed. So it hasn’t been in my head, on my mind, I wouldn’t have known a thing about it. So they needn’t have worried. Years later I surmised that that must have been in the back of their minds.
Press: But you’ve had good friends.
Cunningham: A few people that I’ve known, yes. Oh, you mean—
Press: Just friends.
Cunningham: Oh yeah, yeah.
Press: Antonia was a dear friend.
Cunningham: Oh, I love those kids!
Press: And Suzette.
Cunningham: Yes. I suppose you can’t be in love with your work, but I enjoyed it so much that I didn’t—yeah. But hey, listen, I am human.
Cunningham: [Laughs.] You do have body urges or whatever but you control it as best you can.
Press: And the other question is, and again you don’t have to answer this, but: I know that you go to church every Sunday.
Cunningham: Oh yeah. [Lowers head.]
Press: Is religion—is that an important component of your life? [Cunningham begins quietly weeping for 20 seconds. Outside the apartment, a horn honks.]
Press: We don’t have to talk about this.
Cunningham: Yeah, I think it’s a good guidance in your life. Yeah, it’s something I need. Yeah, I guess maybe it’s part of your upbringing, I don’t know. Whatever it is. You do whatever you do as best as you can work things out. I find it very important. [Laughs.] As a kid I went to church and all I did was look at women’s hats! But later, when you mature, for different reasons.