Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Paying Tribute to Bernard Schwartz & Lola Montès

Last month, while perusing the Telluride Film Festival Program, I wrote "I hope Gary [Meyer] can convince someone to screen a few of these in the Bay Area...Lola Montès - directed by Max Ophüls; (1955)"

As I was re-reading the current Castro Theater calendar, I noted on the back cover that Lola Montès will be screening there from November 19 to 25. November 27 is Thanksgiving so I'll have to keep that in mind when making travel plans but with any luck I'll get to see Ophüls' film of the (in)famous European courtesan of the 19th century.


On November 18, the Castro is having rump session of the Mill Valley Film Festival. MVFF is paying tribute to Bernard Schwartz, better known as Tony Curtis. Curtis will be there to accept his award and then they will show Some Like it Hot. I'm not a huge Curtis fan but he has had enough memorable moments to be well deserving of a tribute. Actually, with all due respect to him, I thought he was dead.

My Immediate & Random Five Tony Curtis Screen Memories

1) Tony Curtis being propositioned by Laurence Olivier in Spartacus. I think that scene was filmed at Hearst Castle. Olivier kept speaking metaphorically about liking oysters and snails. Rather than literally being Sir Larry's Love Slave, Curtis runs away to join the Slave Revolt where he develops a serious man crush on Kirk Douglas

2) Burt Lancaster making Tony Curtis his personal bitch in The Sweet Smell of Success. Lancaster's voice oozed with contempt for Curtis' character - something like "Match me Sydney" when asking for a light for his cigarette.

3) Tony Curtis doing his Cary Grant impersonation in Some Like it Hot. Curtis and Jack Lemmon made a great comedy team. Afterwards, Curtis opined about co-star Marilyn Monroe, "It was like kissing Hitler."

4) That scene with Natalie Wood in short shorts in The Great Race. She was changing behind the car or something and she steps out to give a nice view of her gams. There was a pie fight at the end of the film. Jack Lemmon co-starred.

5) Earlier this month, I was watching AMC on a Saturday morning. I started watching Kansas Raiders (1950). Audie Murphy starred as Jessie James. Richard Long (best known as Jared in the TV series The Big Valley played Frank James. Brian Donlevy played William Quantrill of Quantrill's Raiders fame. James Best (Sheriff Roscoe P. Coltrane from The Dukes of Hazard was cast as Cole Younger. In the role of Kit Dalton was Tony Curtis. Kit Dalton was an author that wrote Under the Black Flag, his memoir about his time in Quantrill's Raiders. I don't know much about Kit Dalton but I don't think he had a heavy Bronx accent.

Honorable Mention - The Vikings (1958) starring Issur Danielovitch Demsky, Ermes Effron Borgnino and Bernie Schwartz (otherwise known as Kirk Douglas, Ernest Borgnine and Tony Curtis). Weren't the Vikings tall, blonde, Aryan Norsemen?

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