The Cervantes Center of Arts & Letters will celebrate the birth centennial of Mexican actor-singer superstar Tito Guízar (1908–1999) with a screening of the 1936 cowboy musical (“charro”) Alla en el rancho grande / Over at the Big Ranch this evening at 7pm at USC's Leavey Library Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles. Free admission. (Parking at Figueroa St. - Gate # 3; for more information/RSVP.: 310 526 1480.)
Directed by Fernando de Fuentes, Over at the Big Ranch stars Guízar, Esther Fernandez, Rene Cardona, Emma Roldan, Chaflan, Lorenzo Barcelata, and Manuel Noriega (Guizar's father-in-law).
The synopsis below (“action dancing” sounds pretty cool, but “cockfighting”?? Ugh!) is from the USC website:
Singing cowboys, golden-hearted bandits and fair senoritas made this movie a box office phenomenon, hailed by historians as the vanguard of the Mexican “charro” genre. Popular radio singer Guízar is cast as itinerant ranchhand Jose Francisco, who falls in love, in spite of himself, with duckling-turned-swan Cruz (Esther Fernandez). It's essentially a Cinderella story, with a bit of Mexican “action dancing” and cockfighting.
'Bonnie and Clyde' movie revisited: Arthur Penn + Warren Beatty & Faye Dunaway captured the zeitgeist
“'I remember a creative impatience by almost everyone involved,” Warren Beatty reminisced about the making of Bonnie and Clyde for the Los Angeles Times' Geoff Boucher. “And there was so much energy on the screen,” he added.
Early 21st-century DVD watchers will be able to check out some of that energy on Tuesday, March 25, when Warner Home Video will be releasing what Boucher refers to as “a lavish repackaging of the film that comes with a 36-page hardcover photo book and the new documentary Revolution! The Making of Bonnie and Clyde.” Additionally, Boucher reminds us that Bonnie and Clyde is featured in Mark Harris' book Pictures at a Revolution, which “weaves together the history of 1967 best picture Oscar nominees Bonnie and Clyde, In the Heat of the Night (which won) and The Graduate to show an industry amid sea change.”
'Bonnie and Clyde' and the 'zeitgeist'
Regarding Bonnie and Clyde's unexpected ability to zero in on the zeitgeist of the late 1960s, Warren Beatty philosophized:
It was Victor Hugo who said that there's nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come. Something is going to happen, and certain things are going to be emblematic of that change, that flux. It was 1968. There was a storm in the world. If someone wants to give us credit for Bonnie and Clyde, I'm happy to take it.
Beatty then added (with a wink, as per Boucher), “I don't want to overwhelm you with my attempt to be attractively humble.”
'Bonnie and Clyde' cast, Academy Awards
Directed by Arthur Penn, Bonnie and Clyde features Warren Beatty as Clyde Barrow and Faye Dunaway as Bonnie Parker, in addition to Gene Hackman, Estelle Parsons, Michael J. Pollard, Denver Pyle, Dub Taylor, and Gene Wilder. David Newman and Robert Benton were credited for the screenplay.
Bonnie and Clyde won two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actress (Estelle Parsons) and Best Cinematography (Burnett Guffey). The film was nominated for eight other Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Actor (Warren Beatty), Best Actress (Faye Dunaway), Best Supporting Actor (Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard), and Best Costume Design (Theadora Van Runkle).
The Best Picture winner that year was Norman Jewison's cop drama In the Heat of the Night, starring Best Actor winner Rod Steiger and Sidney Poitier. The year's Best Actress was Katharine Hepburn for another movie featuring Sidney Poitier, Stanley Kramer's Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, also starring Spencer Tracy, and which earned William Rose the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
The Best Supporting Actor was George Kennedy for Stuart Rosenberg's prison drama Cool Hand Luke, starring Paul Newman. The Best Costume Design winner was John Truscott for the Joshua Logan-directed musical Camelot, starring Richard Harris, Vanessa Redgrave, and Franco Nero. And finally, the Best Director was Mike Nichols for the Dustin Hoffman / Anne Bancroft / Katharine Ross blockbuster The Graduate.
Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty Bonnie and Clyde image: Warner Bros.
Allan Ellenberger on his personal website:
“I'm often asked, 'Why a biography on Miriam Hopkins?' I confess that I get this question mostly from people who are not fans of the actress. They can't understand why anyone would be interested. On the other hand, those who are fans seem thrilled that one is being prepared.”
Allan – we've known each other for several years – then proceeds to list a number of reasons explaining why Hopkins would make an interesting (in my view, fascinating) biographical subject matter. Among them:
“Hopkins appeared in the very first Technicolor film, Becky Sharp (1935).” [Directed by Rouben Mamoulian.]
“Hopkins appeared in a silent short film in 1928 with Humphrey Bogart.”
“Hopkins (born in Savannah, Ga.) was Margaret Mitchell's choice to play Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).”
“Hopkins was involved in political causes during her Hollywood years.” [The liberal actress, in fact, eventually was blacklisted during the Red Scare years. The Women's Shoppers of America – or some such inanely named right-wing group – went after her with a vengeance. Anti-Shopping Reds, Beware!]
“Hopkins was an authority at scene stealing.” [And as a result, she was loathed by some of her co-stars, most notoriously Bette Davis, with whom she appeared in The Old Maid (1939) and Old Acquaintance (1943).]
Also, Hopkins was a very sexually liberated woman, both on- and off-screen. No wonder I've always admired her.
On his blog, Allan also talks about some of his earlier biographical subjects – Ramon Novarro, Margaret O'Brien, Rudolph Valentino – and his other books (Celebrities in the 1930 Census, Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries), and he has loads of photos and trivia about Los Angeles and Hollywood history.
Allan has taken part in four q&a's for Alt Film Guide: Anita Page, Celebrities in the 1930 Census, the Rudolph Valentino legacy, and pioneering screenwriter-producer June Mathis. Next, we'll do a q&a on Miriam Hopkins, and then one on Margaret O'Brien, who happens to be a personal friend of his.