AFI 15-Some Like It Hot

By J.M.E. | October 4, 2019

  I was all of ten years old when I first saw SOME LIKE IT HOT at the Wakefield Theater on White Plains Road in the Bronx.   I had never seen a Marylyn Monroe movie in a theater—at least by myself as my brothers had taken me to SEVEN YEAR ITCH but—and at that age ten the sex element of the woman didn’t have much of an impact. What did was an absolutely wonderful performance by Monroe that even at ten years old I found…

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AFI 12-IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE

By J.M.E. | September 30, 2019

  It’s A Wonderful life has one of the most interesting histories of any film I know. I first saw the film on a New York City afternoon TV showing—I don’t recall the station—where a considerable amount of material was cut to fit into a two hour time slot and of course I had to sit through endless commercials. If my memory serves this was in the late 50s. At the time I wasn’t particularly impressed and thinking back thought it was just another Jimmy Stewart…

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AFI 11-SINGING IN THE RAIN

By J.M.E. | February 10, 2019

SINGING IN THE RAIN was supposed to have its first TV showing on NBC the week of the Kennedy Assignation in November 1963. But, considering the events, it was decided that the film (a light musical comedy) was not appropriate and the showing was postponed until (I think) January 1964 which is when I first saw the film. Unfortunately for me, I watched it on my TV and not the family color TV and my TV was B&W. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the movie and—following the…

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AFI 10-SCHINDLER’S LIST.

By J.M.E. | January 26, 2019

    My relationship with Schindler’s List is an odd one and goes back before the film was even made. Flashback. Years ago while in college I was waiting for someone in a dormitory lobby and laying on the coffee table beside my chair was a tattered paperback copy of Albert Speer’s “Inside The Third Reich.” Before this time I had absolutely no interest in Hitler or Nazi Germany. In fact, quite the opposite. At the time of the Eichmann trial in the early 60s…

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DONG KINGMAN AND 55 DAYS AT PEKING

By J.M.E. | January 24, 2019

    From Wikipedia: Dong Kingman was a Chinese American artist and one of America’s leading watercolor masters. As a painter on the forefront of the California Style School of painting, he was known for his urban and landscape paintings, as well as his graphic design work in the Hollywood film industry. He has won widespread critical acclaim and his works are included in over 50 public and private collections worldwide, including Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum; deYoung Museum and Art…

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AFI 9-ON THE WATERFRONT

By J.M.E. | January 19, 2019

  I first saw the ON THE WATERFRONT when I was five and my brothers took me to see it at a local theater in second run.  As adult memory doesn’t begin until about seven, I just remember fragments and most especially that the theater was so packed that I had to sit the petition behind the last row of the orchestra. I think I remember the fight at the end and that the streets and apartments in film looked very much like where I was…

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By J.M.E. | January 18, 2019

                                                INTERVIEW AS PLAY   STARRING SULLY BOYAR/LAUREN JONES JONES/JIM SPINKS/BILL DUKE and JOSEPH EGAN   Of all the interviews I ever did this is, without question, my favorite. Why I had kept the original tape is a mystery as I always reused my interview tapes. And, as for the finished interviews I never kept them, either my original typewriter copy or…

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AFI 8-THE GRADUATE

By J.M.E. | January 17, 2019

    THE GRADUATE and I have an interesting history. It opened when I was a sophomore in High School. There was a lot of talk about it at the school but I wasn’t into these low budget films (I think it came in for something around $2,000,000.) that were basically anti-Hollywood and what soon would be called “The Now Movie.” They dealt with everyday life rather than the “fantasy” films I had grown up watching and loving. BONNIE AND CLYDE was another one of…

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MARLENE DIETRICH AND JOSEPH STERNBERG

By J.M.E. | January 15, 2019

    Marlene Dietrich and Joseph Sternberg were one of the great Actor-director Hollywood matchings. Of the six films they made, in order of American release, MOROCCO did extremely well at the box office and established Dietrich as a star. The English Language version of THE BLUE ANGEL then solidified her star status. DISHONORED was a great success—The final Piano and firing squad sequence is incredible—and SHANGHAI EXPRESS was their greatest box office success and was the film that turned Marlene Dietrich into DIETRICH.   BLONDE…

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LOUIS B. MAYER MEETS JOHN HUSTON

By J.M.E. | December 27, 2018

    As we all know Louis B. Mayer was head of MGM studies from 1925—when the company was founded—until 1951 when he was forced out by the Nick Schneck, President of Loews Inc. MGM’s parent company. Mayer was not a picture maker. He knew how to run a studio which meant that he managed the physical plant, knew talent when he saw it, paid top dollar for that talent and gave it the best resources then available to make movies. Nevertheless, Mr. Mayer was…

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