Did You Know?: Movie Trivia

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– Burt Lancaster turned down the role of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire; he said he felt competitive w/ Marlon Brando (who got the role of Stanley).

– Lancaster attended Dewitt Clinton High School in the Bronx. 

– He was Irish Protestant.

 

 

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– Tony Curtis also grew up in the Bronx; his given name was Bernard Schwartz.  His parents were immigrants to the US (like mine)!

– Curtis and his brother lived in an orphanage for some time b/c of parents’ financial problems.

– Curtis had little formal education; he joined the Marines to learn about the wider world. 

– Elvis copied Curtis’ “duck tail” hairdo after seeing it in a movie.

 

 

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It takes a long time to learn to treat the camera as a friend and confidant, which finally you have to do if you’re to become a good film actor.
 
    

– Rex Harrison’s voice was the inspiration for that of Stewie Griffin in the animated comedy series, Family Guy.

– He was a “wine snob” (as we say today).

– Harrison once punched Frank Sinatra’s jaw because he thought Sinatra was hitting on his wife, Lili Palmer.  (Harrison was married 5 times!)

– Harrison’s given first name was Carey; he changed it because “rex” in Latin means “king.”

 

 

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My father used to say, “Let them see you and not the suit. That should be secondary.”

 

– Cary Grant’s real name is Archibald Alexander Leach.  (Yes, VERY British!)  In His Girl Friday (1940), his character says, “The last man who messed with me was Archie Leach.”  John Cleese’s character in A Fish Called Wanda was also named Archie Leach.

– Grant (like Lancaster) was an acrobat as a child.

– Grant dated Sophia Loren for a time; they acted togther in Houseboat.

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I’m the inarticulate man who tries. I don’t really have all the answers, but for some reason, somehow, I make it.

James Stewart was the first Hollywood star to volunteer during WWII; he lied about his weight to enlist.

– His best friend in Hollywood was fellow actor Henry Fonda though they disagreed over politics. 

– Stewart’s heritage was Scottish and Irish.

– He played the piano and accordian.

 

 

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I’m not that pristine pure, I guess I’ve broken as many rules as the next feller. But I reckon my face looks honest enough and if people buy it, Hallelujah.

 

– Fonda’s heritage was traced back to Genoa, Italy.  His ancestors traveled from Italy to the Netherlands in the late 1400s, then eventually came to America (among its first settlers)! 

– He studied acting with Marlon Brando’s mother, Dorothy.  (Both Fonda and Brando hailed from Omaha, Nebraska.)

– Fonda and Jimmy Stewart met and shared a room when the two were both struggling young actors in the early 1930s. Stewart went to Hollywood shortly before Fonda. When Fonda arrived he shared Stewart’s home, where they both gained reputations as ladies’ men (before settling down w/ wives and kids).

Dinner by Dad

Chicken curry w/ tomatoes
Chicken curry w/ tomatoes

 

Stir-fried broccoli w/ garlic
Stir-fried broccoli w/ garlic

 

Masoor dal (a type of lentil)
Masoor dal (a type of lentil)

 

Basmati rice
Basmati rice

 

Pulao rice (left over from a dinner at an aunt's)
Pulao rice (left over from a dinner at an aunt's)

Hanging out here… cable TV offline today!

Pics of Today:

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At least it’s sunny…

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but I’m in a LOUSY mood!

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I heard MANY DC ppl didn’t go to work yesterday!

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My lunch: tuna salad sandwich, baby carrots, & roasted red pepper hummus.

Recent iTunes Downloads:

Hindi Songs:

Haule Haule – Salim-Sulaiman & Sukhwinder Singh (Saavn Presents: Bollywood Hits 2008)

Jashn e BahaaraA.R. Rahman (Johaa Akbar film soundtrack)

Jai Ho A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack)

Nachley – Daler Mehndi & Kunal Ganjawala (Lakeer soundtrack)

Phir Milenge Chalte Chalte Salim Sulaiman & Sonu Nigaam (Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi)

Ringa Ringa – A.R. Rahman (Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack)

Country Songs:

Never Loved Before Alan Jackson & Martina McBride (Alan Jackson, Good Time)

Sweet Thing – Keith Urban’s new single

Things a Mama Don’t Know – Mica Roberts & Toby Keith (Mica Roberts’ debut CD)

Quick Movie Reviews:

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I had to be careful where I went because I was a Jew, because I was young and because I was handsome. It made me wiry and erratic and paranoid, which is what I still am. Always on guard.  Tony Curtis

Trapeze (1956)

Two gorgeous guys in tights- what’s not to like?  This film stars Burt Lancaster (gymnastics kept him off the streets as a kid) and Tony Curtis (who didn’t have the required skills at first, but was very enthusiastic).  Curtis’ willingness to learn impressed Lancaster very much.  The two men did most of their own stunts in this film- wow!

This classic pic is set in Paris, and focuses on the working relationship and friendship btwn an older, injured former trapeze star Mike Ribble (Lancaster) and his energetic, young protege Tino Orsini (Curtis).  Tino came all the way from NYC to learn a difficult/dangerous trick on the trapeze (that only Mike can teach him).  But an ambitious/manipulative  young woman, Lola, also in the circus, has her eyes on Tino.

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Tony Curtis has always been an actor who has refused to play it safe, and has devoted his working life to performing in a vast array of characters… Yet what stands out about all his performances in the inner vulnerability and humility he finds in his unsympathetic characters and the never-say-die attitude of the heroes he plays.  -IMDB bio

Life is to be lived within the limits of your knowledge and within the concept of what you would like to see yourself to be.  –Burt Lancaster

Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

Another pic w/ Lancaster & Curtis, BUT there are few nice guys here!  J.J. Hunsecker (Lancaster) is a powerful, much-feared gossip columnist.  He doesn’t feel guilty about ruining careers, marraiges, and his sensitive little sister’s budding romance.  (You can see the blemishes on Lancaster’s skin in this film; that suits the flawed character he plays.)  Sidney Falco (Curtis) is his ruthlessly ambitious publicist.  Friends worry that working w/ J.J. has corrupted Sid.  Just how far will Sid go to get a taste of success?

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A Soldier’s Story (1984)

This is a very thought-provoking ensemble fim based on a successful Broadway play; a young Denzel Washington playing a key role here.  It’s set in a Southern army camp during WWII; soldiers were segregated by race at that time.  They spent a lot of time playing baseball (many hailed from the Negro Leangue), waiting for a chance to fight.  The recruits may have clashing personalities, but they share a hatred of their drill instructor, Sgt. Waters (Adolph Caesar).

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Though Waters is black, too, he is very hard on his men.  His moods go up, down, and every which way.  Waters is not hesitant to use the “n” word to refer to those men he sits as “bad for the race.”  Waters takes no excuses from anyone, so no recruit is too upset when he meets w/ a mysterious death.  The white officers are worried, however, and call for assistance from Washington.

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Washington sends down Capt. Davenport (Howard Rollins from the TV series In the Heat of the Night); he’s a black officer/lawyer.  It’s not an easy case- Davenport quickly discovers.  The rag-tag group of recruits do a double take when they see an articulate/strong black officer, and the white officers fear that Davenport is the wrong man for the job.  “Folks around here won’t talk to you!” an older white officer exclaims.  But Davenport remains calm and professional, determined to find the truth.

Did You Know?:

– Burt Lancaster turned down the lead in Ben Hur (and the $1 million salary) b/c he thought it would be awful.  He set up his own production company (rare for an actor of his time) to do his own projects.

– Both Lancaster and Tony Curtis are native New Yorkers.  Who can mistake Curtis’ strong Bronx accent?

– Lancaster admitted to being nervous when working w/ Montgomert Clift in From Here to Eternity:

The only time I was ever really afraid as an actor was that first scene with Clift. It was my scene, understand: I was the sergeant, I gave the orders, he was just a private under me. Well, when we started, I couldn’t stop my knees from shaking. I thought they might have to stop because my trembling would show. I was afraid he was going to blow me right off the screen.

I have things to do, but…

2nd Snowfall of 2009 (NoVA)

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 The Northeast corridor has been hit w/ snow.  In Alexandria, VA the high temp will only go up to 27 degrees today.  In NYC schools were closed for the first time in 5 years!  (I bet my cousins are happy.) 

 

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 There will be wind and flurries throughout the day.

 

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Since this is such a HUGE complex w/ many residents, there are NO parking garages.  So the cars are left out to the elements.

 

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After 6PM

 

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This past weekend pics:

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Blogs by subway line: 

I just discovered this today!  Look at the N and W lines- they have MANY blogs.

http://nycbloggers.com/

Awe & Ardor (TV’s Top Cops)

Vincent D’Onofrio (Det. Bobby Goren, Law & Order: Criminal Intent)

 

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The good actors that I’ve met – I’ve met some of the best actors that we’ll ever see – and I know for sure the one thing that we all have in common when we all look in each other’s eyes, is that we’re all struggling to achieve 100%. That’s all I see when I see another artist. All of us are trying to achieve 100% in our work. That’s all we struggle to do. We never do, but we never stop trying until the day we die. It’s that struggle to achieve 100%, that’s where our performance lies, that’s what the audience gets. They get the struggle.

 

The last 2 seasons were FULL of Goren-related drama on L&O: CI (currently shown on the USA network).  Bobby lost his fragile, schizophrenic mother (played by the fabulous Rita Moreno) and learned that his biological father Mark Ford Brady (Roy Scheider) was a serial killer.  Then his older/former junkie brother Frank (Tony Goldwyn) was found murdered- pushed out of his apt. window.  He made some uncharacteristic decisions, and took a BIG risk to help Frank’s son- his new-found nephew.   Wow, that’s a LOT to take in!  Bobby had to leave the job for a while, too.

 

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Bobby is NOT your typical cop (unlike Eames)- he’s a criminal profiler with a genius IQ.  He can get into a perp’s mind; he’s very much concerned with the “why” of a crime.     

 

 

Goren is based on Sherlock Holmes but, instead of relying upon physical evidence like Holmes, D’Onofrio’s character focuses on psychology to identify the perpetrators, whom he often draws into confessing or yielding condemning evidence.  –IMDB

 

 

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D’Onofrio (seen above in The Whole Wide World co-starring Renee Zellweger) has taken on MANY quirky roles over the years.  He’s known in the industry as an “actor’s actor.”  With Det. Goren, character is revealed bit by bit.  Bobby is not a “people-person,” so he keeps a LOT to himself.  But he’s not ALWAYS in control.  Because of his unstable childhood (including an often absent/distant father), Goren has learned to be self-sufficient.    

 

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What a CUTE nose!  The towering 6’3″ D’Onofrio (seen above at a 1996 movie premiere) is an interesting actor to watch b/c he pushes himself to become a character.  Sometimes it may be TOO much- several years ago on the L&O: CI set, he was hospitalized for exhaustion.  D’Onofrio is a “method” actor.  (He gained weight for a movie re: Orson Welles.)  Zellweger thanked him in her Oscar speech- how cool is that!?   

 

Did you know?: D’Onofrio was born in Brooklyn, so he’s a REAL New Yorker!

 

 

Chris Meloni (Det. Elliot Stabler, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit)

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A city like New York has clashing cultures and clashing ideas and big ideas, but these sorts of things weren’t being thrown in the air and bandied about where I came from.

 

Meloni has played a great cop (Stabler) AND a great criminal (Keller on Oz).  Both characters are intimidating, unpredictable, an have a strong physical presence.  Come on- that’s an AWESOME bod! 

 

 

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When it’s mid-February, and it’s bitterly cold outside, I am really glad that I’m not working in construction anymore.

 

 

 

The above pic is from Oz, where Meloni played a sociopathic killer.   Unlike the manipulative Keller, El (as partner Olivia Benson calls him) has a VERY strong sense of right and wrong.  I’ve been watching SVU since it started!  I missed a FEW eps here and there, BUT am catching up.              

 

 

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Elliot is especially affected by cases involving children/teens; he has gone through trials w/ his family as a result of his tough job.  He is a very loyal partner to Liv.  Meloni is an actor that you can’t pidgeon-hole into “good” or “bad” character; he’s in the gray area.  This makes him fun to watch! 

 

Did you know?: Meloni is half-Italian and half-French Canadian.  He’s often mistaken for (another fine actor) Elias Koteas.

 

 

 

Chris Noth (Det. Mike Logan, Law & Order / Law & Order: Criminal Intent)

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The original L&O series has had MANY strong actors: Michael Moriarty, Jerry Orbach, and Sam Waterston to name a few.  But who looks and acts like a real-life cop?  It’s Chris Noth; he’s played Det. Mike Logan on 2 L&O shows.  

 

 

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Wow, what a great profile!  I liked the longer hair, too.  Through the years, Mike has slowly matured and softened (somewhat) as a person and as a cop.  But, he’s still got a petulant/abrasive side.  Mike has worked w/ many partners, but will be leaving the L&O: CI soon.  (Jeff Goldblum will take over in the coming season.) 

 

 

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I don’t know the politics of Hollywood. Am I hungry for great material? Every actor is. How I can get to it, that’s another story.

 

Noth achieved even greater success/notice when he got the role of “Mr. Big” on SATC (above pic).  Hmmm… I wonder what Big would think of Logan’s wardrobe?  Noth and Sara Jessica Parker had GREAT chemisty together!

 

 

Did you know?: Noth, unlike Logan who’s Irish American, is Jewish.

 

 

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Related Links:

 

 

The Reel Vincent D’Onofrio (a fan’s blog):

http://www.thereelvincentdonofrio.com/reelblog/reelblog.html

 

Trailer for The Whole Wide World (an unconventional love story based on real events):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qpUe7UBsWBk&NR=1

 

Chris Meloni’s Official Web Site (a VERY cool site!):

http://www.christopher-meloni.com/frame.html

 

A VERY cool desktop wallpaper design:

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http://surreal-art.com/files/vincentcollage.jpg