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There was outrage over the raw nature of the production. Not to mention the underlying message of class struggle that more than a few of our Fortune parents took personally. McD was forced out of Malibu in disgrace … and with a three-picture deal from Warner Bros. So, while Mr. Repercussion 1: At the beginning of the year, Headmaster Collins handed Mr. Randall a list of musicals that no one could have a problem with. It was a very short list, highlighted with The Sound of Music and Oklahoma!

All very good plays, but the kind of stuff we did in the third grade. From that list Mr. Therefore—he explained to a few select students—it would be the least offensive choice to the surrounding community of liberal Hollywood elite. Making a stink about the Wicked Witch just makes them seem all the more out there. Which is my very long way of explaining the choice of play. But not why there were four girls onstage.

Okay, Heather, find the light, Mr. Randall said to Dorothy 3. She was standing on the edge of the wash from the spotlight.

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Randall had Jimmy, the stage manager, focus the spotlight like that on purpose. Randall said with a diplomacy that comes from years of experience. But you need to be in the hot spot, where the light is brightest. So please, Heather, find the light. It moves wherever the person behind it points the thing. Randall said with continued diplomacy. But you need to know this for all the lighting instruments.

Heather gave another sigh that could be heard back in the cheap seats. She then moved a small step stage left and stopped. Randall shot me a look from his seat one row in front of me. Your typical spoiled Hollywood brat, Heather Mayflower used to go around telling everyone that her family actually owned the original ship that the pilgrims came over on.

That is, until back in middle school when poor, clueless Mrs. Sharpe—who was rather dull when it came to understanding a social order wherein thirteen-year-olds were more powerful than teachers—made the Mayflower Mistake. She mentioned in class that Mayflower was actually a common name for boats around that time in history. The younger Mayflower has been working the commercial route for years, has an agent, and has already booked small roles on The Vampire Diaries and two of the CSI s. In March, Holly had been cast as one of the lead kids in the pilot for a family sitcom that filmed in April.

Rumor had it the show was a good bet to be picked up for the next season. And with Holly out of the picture, all it took was one phone call from Daddy to get Heather cast. Jimmy, put the light on Cindy! Randall called out to the spotlight operator-stage manager-all around tech maven. I stifled a laugh and Mr. Randall stifled his own exasperated sigh as the light hit Dorothy 2, the stunningly beautiful, semiprofessional model Cynthia Lakeside.

With four Dorothys or is it Dorothies? One Dorothy per show. Or maybe we were simply well-stocked in the understudy department? To explain, we need to go back a bit in history. Stick with me now. I had to learn all this for school. The Orion Institute for Astronomical Studies was originally built as a scientific college back in the s. As the name indicates, the college focused solely on the study of astronomy. I think they even found a couple new stars or something.

After about two decades of intensive study of both kinds of celestial bodies, Mr. Merryweather was caught in the kind of Hollywood scandal that the current school administration prefers to gloss over during our history lessons. As a result, Mr. Merryweather was forced out of the college he had created and run out of town faster than the speed of light. The college managed to stay in business for another decade until funding eventually dried up.

The school and observatory were closed and abandoned. Since nobody likes the look of vacant property—especially in a ritzy beach community—a bunch of parents got together in the early seventies and formed a private high school to make use of the space. In tribute to the original school, they decided to keep the name. Thus, Orion Academy was born. During those many, many decades the college and high school were already in existence, a residential neighborhood grew up around the campus. After an agreement with the neighbors, Orion Academy is now only allowed to have a dozen nighttime events per school year.

With our growing theater reputation, our shows sell out faster than tickets to the Super Bowl. Traditionally, our spring show is double cast. The juniors and freshmen perform on Friday night, and the seniors and sophomores perform the same show on Saturday night. But this year, due to an unfortunate aligning of the stars literally , we were forced into an extra stargazing night, which meant we had to cut one of our shows. Granted, Trees 1 and 2 are fairly substantial parts in this play—what with the whole apple-picking scene. But Tree 3 just kind of stands around.

No lines at all. And it is far better to have a stage full of Dorothys, Scarecrows, and Wizards than to have even one student with a nonspeaking role. Randall asked. If you ask me, it was fairly obvious she had taken a pair of hedge clippers to the thing. It had about one quarter of the material as the other costumes. Breasts were bursting out on the top, and panties were peeking out on the bottom.

And it was all centered around a considerably bare midriff. Cindy asked with well-practiced innocence. I thought it would be good if we all looked a little different. So we can stand out some. Randall said. We had quite the selection of Dorothys. Three of the four Dorothys had taken a new approach to the familiar outfit.

The aforementioned Heather was wearing a slinky silk number. Certainly not something any Kansas farm girl would wear to slop the pigs. The costume award, however, had to go to Suze Finberg, Dorothy 4. Suze chose to add rather than subtract, starting with fringe on the bottom of the dress and capping it off with some crazy beadwork around the neckline. Once the spotlight moved onto Suze, the beadwork really popped in the light. It was an amazing balancing act. Not quite appropriate for a farm girl living in the dust bowl, but with this show, we had all given up on appropriate long ago.

And yet, there she was. One of the four leads that most of the girls in the show would have killed for. Ultraexclusive schools tend to feed into one another. Every now and then we get a new kid who is seamlessly absorbed into the status quo. Sam blew into the school last year like a Kansas twister and immediately made herself known as a force to be reckoned with in the drama department.

And in my life as well. Sam is the most talented actress-singer-dancer-mime at Orion Academy. She trained with a world-famous mime for a summer during elementary school. For people living in the L. I think it all started back when some singers wanted to start acting and actors decided they were singers. That evolved into actor-producers, singer-songwriters, and writer-directors.

A triple hyphenate, Sam would easily have been the lone Dorothy for the junior production any normal year. Her costume was the least altered of the bunch. She prefers to use her actual talent to make herself stand out. Before she started here, Sam went to school in Santa Monica—a nice but not nearly as pricey area south of Malibu.

The tooth fairy used to leave a dollar under her pillow. I always found stock options under mine. They can afford the tuition thanks to some money her grandparents left her, combined with the discount teachers get for their kids to attend. Is it time for my close-up? Sam asked as she expertly stepped into the hot spot of the light. Yes, Ms.


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Aug 06, Megan rated it really liked it. I bought this book when I was about 12 years old and thought the cover was pretty. It was a complete impulse buy and didn't read it for the longest time. Now after reading it, I think the cover is horrible and doesn't do the books it is a combo of the first two books justice. First off the colors may get your attention, but not in a good way.

The people on the cover don't resemble any of the characters found in the book. The individual book covers are better, but not the best. I finally picked I bought this book when I was about 12 years old and thought the cover was pretty. I finally picked the book up after starting to watch Glee on TV, because the books sounded a lot like it.

That's so far from the truth it isn't even funny. I loved these books, but in no way is it a copy of Glee. I think it is better going into these books without knowing much so here's a brief summary of the two The first book The Four Dorothys is about when the school puts it on production of The Wizard of Oz, the four girls cast to play Dorothy start to mysteriously drop out of the play. The second book Everyone's a Critic takes place the summer after the first book. During Orion's summer theatre program, a special guest arrives changing how the summer program usually goes down.

I really had absolutely no expectations going into these, but I was blown away. First Bryan is so relatable and I felt as though I was in the story. The story was entertaining and kept my interest. The books could almost be stand-a-lones as in no cliff hanger to make you read the next book. The only reason I read the second was because I already had it. I would encourage you two continue with the series. I almost like the second story better, because I was already attached to the characters.

I probably will read the next book just because of my love for the characters and their stories. May 30, Luke rated it really liked it Shelves: lgbtq. Not that I expected to dislike it or anything—not all all. I loved how it involved a play for The Wizard of Oz ; that was my favourite movie when I was younger, and it remains one of my favourites of all time.

And I found Bryan—yes, spelt with a "y" and not an "i"—witty and amusing. I don't think the story would've been as colourful as it is with him as the narrator if anyone else took on the role. It really lives up to the Drama which the series is called.

Contact the team at Movie Reviews.

Bryan is just as witty and amusing, and I liked Sam and Hope, as well as Jason. There were lots of talks about Shakespeare plays—they had to perform a monologue, and Shakespeare was an obvious contender—and although I'm not much of a fan of his work, I did like Joss Whedon's adaptation of his Much Ado About Nothing ; it would've been cool if that was at least mentioned, but A Midsummer Night's Dream is fine. Overall, I really, really enjoyed this bind-up.

Both of the stories, as I said for Everyone's a Critic , lived up to the Drama which the series is named after. I can't wait to get my hands on the third and fourth books, Show, Don't Tell and Entrances and Exits. Jan 20, Charles rated it liked it. This is actually two books in one, so this review might be a bit long.

Or not. When I first saw this book I thought it looked like a rip off of Glee, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I sort of figured that the characters would be thinly veiled Glee character clones, but that was most definitely not true. Like watching a trai This is actually two books in one, so this review might be a bit long. Like watching a train wreck. Anyway, I actually really liked Bryan, and found him surprisingly easy to relate to. The writing was from his point of view, and the way it was written was pretty much the way my brain works, so it was really fun to read.

I pretty much read both of these books which actually only totaled pages in like 2 days. Despite what could have been some really mediocre plot lines, I found myself laughing nearly the entire time I was reading these. My personal favorite line? I warrant a two-hundred-fifty-pound bald black man. You can buy Cat People to stream on Amazon. No film about selling your soul to the devil ever felt quite so damned as La Main du Diable. The catch? He has to sell it before he dies—or spend all eternity in the inferno. The only surviving resident, a traumatized young woman, unravels a horrifying tale of temptation and betrayal.

In Val Lewton-produced thriller The Seventh Victim , a young girl goes in search of her beautiful but troubled sister and stumbles onto a malevolent cult. In this episode, two friends out on a nighttime walk meet a woman gibbering about a dangerous man in black. When they make the mistake of trying to solve the mystery, the pair find themselves menaced by a shadowy supernatural being.

You can buy The Seventh Victim to stream on Vudu. The Undying Monster clocks in at just over an hour, yet John Brahm fills this underrated s chiller with enough mist and fear and Gothic secrecy to satisfy the most diehard classic horror fans. In this odd mixture of early forensic science and supernatural terror, a detective and his comic assistant investigate the legendary werewolf of Hammond Hall after the family heir and a village girl are violently mauled. You can buy The Undying Monster on Amazon.

It also might be around the internet somewhere. I like my ghosts malevolent in fiction at least! On the melancholy Cornish coast of The Uninvited , another dream house lures out-of-towners into peril and a web of deadly secrets. The house also calls to the daughter of its previous owner, the dreamy, sheltered Stella, who senses the spirit of her mother lingering in the house.

But does the house really welcome Stella… or does it want to destroy her? And why? You can buy The Uninvited on Blu-ray from Amazon. It also might be around the internet somewhere…. Okay, so I already did a double-feature about being buried alive. In underrated Val Lewton horror Isle of the Dead , a mismatched cast of characters find themselves trapped by quarantine on a Greek island during the Balkan Wars of As a plague claims more and more lives, superstitious paranoia threatens to destroy an innocent woman accused of being a parasitic demon.

Believe me, even if you think you know where this movie is going, you still have a few scares in store. You can stream Isle of the Dead on FilmStruck. Dead of Night is a British anthology horror film about a group of people at a country house telling ghostly tales, varying in tone and content from the quaintly funny to the unforgettably disturbing. So… what do these two have in common? Without veering into spoiler territory, let me say that both the film and the radio episode add to their uncanny impact with recursive endings.

Until Dead of Night gets a legit U. I truly sympathize with the heroines of these horror-infused Gothic romances. On the one hand, the man they love is probably evil. Marrying a moody man with a track record of mysteriously dead wives is the relationship equivalent of wandering into a graveyard at midnight in a slasher movie. Impressionable Victorian maiden Ida Lupino falls understandably for recently widowed Vincent Price after he passionately serenades her on his pipe organ.

Kind of a red flag, you know?

Movie Reviews

How convenient that his wife happens to drop dead soon after…. You can purchase Dragonwyck on Blu-ray from Amazon. It is also currently streaming on YouTube. Now, you could argue that neither the radio episode nor the film represents true horror. You can buy Lured to stream on Amazon.

A snowbound research base. Puzzled scientists. An extraterrestrial intelligence unleashed upon mankind. Listen, my friends… then keep watching the skies. After all, where would the genre be without evil kids, hiding diabolical schemes behind angelic faces? In both the radio episode and the film, our bratty anti-heroines exude a cloying sweetness—when they want something—that only accentuates their rottenness.

You can buy The Bad Seed to stream on Amazon. James is my favorite horror writer. His tales blend erudition and a stodgy academic flavor with expertly-paced suspense and traumatic glimpses of gore and ghouls. And conjure up demons. And delight in toying with his victims by sending them all sorts of supernatural terrors as part of a death-day countdown. Night of the Demon takes the central premise of the short story—a vengeful occultist who kills via runic symbols on a scrap of paper—and embellishes it with all manner of eccentric and frightening detours.

The show specialized in pulpy crime yarns with high body counts. This standout episode pulls no punches. Scream queen Barbara Steele plays another persecuted witch who returns from the grave to seek revenge in Black Sunday. You can buy Black Sunday to stream on Amazon. A cocky radio host decides treat his listeners to a broadcast from a haunted house.

An excellent example of just how terrifying potent atmosphere and spellbinding acting can be sans gore, The Haunting is arguably the greatest film about a paranormal investigation. You can buy The Haunting to stream on YouTube. Kill, Baby, Kill! Well, a little. But the uniqueness and ambiguity of the tale have haunted me ever since I first listened to it.

Yet, its color palette of neutrals punctuated with eerie jewel tones, convoluted spiritualism, and the comparative uselessness of our apparent hero all conspire to throw us off balance. You can buy Kill, Baby, Kill! Are the strange things that they hear and see mere phantoms of their troubled minds… or is there really some supernatural presence at work?

Cut off from a normal existence and patronized by her jailer-spouse, the narrator begins to detect something moving behind the ornate wallpaper of her room…. Nothing can quite match its ambiance of crisp autumnal New England creepiness wedded to strung-out bohemian disillusionment. Recently released from an asylum, Jessica settles on a quaint apple orchard with her husband and their friend.

When mysterious drifter chick seems to bring division and all manner of spookiness, Jessica must fight for her life while struggling to hold on to her sanity. Shadows lurk in every corner of our everyday lives. Darkness is inescapable, and so are the monsters here. In this episode, a vicious horde of spectral beings set out to destroy a young woman. They can only attack in darkness.

However, it may not be so easy to stay in the light. Again, they can only come for her in the darkness. But night must fall…. Never disrespect the dead. Your character barely speaks a word until a surprise final scene, and the entire film hinges on that twist. You have to be joyful, alluring, vicious, then hysterical, all in an unfamiliar accent. And all in the space of 2 minutes. Breezy and glittering on the stage of the Egyptian Theater at TCMFF, Lee shared memories of making the classic twisty thriller, an experience that sounds almost as tense as the film itself.

Destiny conspired to put our heroine in the right place at the right time.

The Devil's in the Diva

During the mids, Frank Sinatra vowed to help out the owners of the Mocambo, a once-swinging nightclub threatened by the gravitational pull of evening television. The entire stage was filled with orchestra and Frank was working on a tiny little dais in front of it. People were sitting around behind him on both sides. I was right there in front looking up at this glorious man, and nobody else in this world is or will be as mesmerizing as Frank Sinatra.

So I sat there with my mouth hanging open. And I have just given you the most unique screen test. Would you come in and meet Billy Wilder.

The Black Cauldron - Nostalgia Critic

Forget it. After that unconventional introduction, the star settled into a less mischievous mode. More importantly, the famous husband-wife team coached Lee on a key part of her performance. And they both helped me with that. She just really had nothing to do with me. She was very cool, very distant. Lee remembers shooting Witness for the Prosecution on a colossal set almost as impressive as the cast. They had to tear apart a wall and build on 2 soundstages. Though her role was a small one, Witness for the Prosecution gave Lee one of her most memorable turns on film.

We all know that Frank Sinatra likes nothing better than to have people up to the house, a big Italian dinner, and watch a new movie. Witness for the Prosecution. He never knew that he was responsible for both jobs!


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Particularly when the news comes straight from the person who lived it. And, boy, did he get more than he bargained for. The crowd, as they say, went wild. Hunt clearly enjoyed tantalizing her adoring crowd with this deliberate news drop. She tends to speak about the past carefully, deliberately, as though weighing each reminiscence against an iron-clad personal standard of truth. So far as I know, he was gentleness itself. Because I never saw him or heard to the contrary. Harry Cohn, whatever his social manners might have been, knew good films and he had a lot of courage, I think, about the films he chose to make, for which he deserves great credit.

A Harry Cohn film, very often as not, stood for something, and not just a film. Hunt is proud of her involvement in such a prophetic and historically significant film as None Shall Escape. And we were creating another day, another atmosphere, another continent, another everything. It was fascinating be in such a contrast all at once.

Hunt spoke fondly of co-star Alexander Knox, who garnered an Oscar nomination for Wilson the same year he chillingly portrayed a Nazi officer in None Shall Escape. He was a lovely man. We became lifetime friends. When my husband and I went to England they took beautiful care of us, and we had a lovely reunion over there.

Its astute psychological inquiry into the origins of evil remains frighteningly, enduringly relevant. This movie does something very different. How to make a villain… We need to pay very great attention to those how-tos. Unfortunately, their brave efforts failed to stop the momentum of rabid red-baiters in Congress. The Committee for the First Amendment in Washington. Marsha Hunt is on the left edge of the frame wearing that super-cool double-breasted ensemble.

And that probably won me some enemies.


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Even in that haven of creatives, political tensions bubbled up to the surface. Hunt recalled how some guests would storm out of the house rather than share the room with somebody on the opposite side of the political spectrum. This behavior puzzles Hunt, who believes in frank exchanges of ideas.

An independent thinker, Hunt fiercely objected to the idea that someone could be persecuted on the basis of their politics. And those were dangerous days. Refusing to name names or disavow her beliefs, Hunt was blacklisted at the peak of her career. The integrity that made her a target then makes her a hero today. In style as well as politics, Hunt has a boldly independent streak. Hunt earned her expertise in cosmetics during the rigorous apprenticeship that she set out for herself in hopes of a film career. You learned how to make movies then by making movies, but you could train for the theaters.

Oddly enough I was never stagestruck. It had to be movies. And I knew that was going to take some managing. After graduating high school, Hunt attended dramatic school and found work with the elite Powers Modeling Agency. That preparation enabled Hunt to take an active role in shaping what she wore on and off the screen. Though schooled in glamour, Hunt knew that she craved something more from film acting.

She sought out challenging character parts and often played women considerably older than she was, as in None Shall Escape. I wanted a total disguise in every role. There are actresses and actors who love to play themselves. Well, God bless them! I thought it was fun to pretend.

Unbroken by one of the darkest chapters in 20th century American history, Hunt is a courageous and compassionate survivor. Despite the stolen years of the blacklist, her body of work on film is a gallery of diverse, memorable, utterly credible characterizations. She has created an equally impressive legacy of humanitarianism, using her fame, financial resources, and industry connections to advocate for refugees, establish homeless shelters, and fight world hunger. Hunt mainly credits her parents and upbringing. I guess the bright side always appealed to me to look at rather than the dark.

I never figured out why. I had the honor of briefly meeting Marsha, and it will rank among the great thrills of my life. You feel infinitely humbled to be in the presence of someone who has done so much good for so long. I also asked her about one of my favorite behind-the-scenes photos. Was she really a knitter? Or was it staged? Look, it might seem like a silly question, but you have to admit it was original. Hunt looked at the picture and, with that sharp, deliberate memory of hers, she confirmed that she was indeed an on-the-set knitter.

Imagine keeping track of those patterns amidst all the distractions of a movie set. Long may she grace this world with her presence. Slanting shadows of Venetian blinds. Men in trench coats prowling rain-slicked streets after dark. Scheming dames with guns in their purses and murder on their minds. Noir is surely the crossover superstar of the cinephile lexicon, with tropes and a visual style instantly recognizable in television, video games, and graphic novels, as well as films.

At Columbia University the inaugural Dr. The festival screened 8 films in total, 7 of them on 35mm. Whenever possible, the festival showed original trailers for the next film in the series, providing insight into how Hollywood sold the not-yet-labeled film noir to the public. He hopes to differentiate the recurring event from other noir- or classic film-oriented festivals by focusing on critical noir studies. Within the scope of noir studies, the festival organizers decided to begin at the beginning.

We settled on eight films to transport festival attendees back to that formative moment in film history, before these films of moral depravity, low-key lighting, and abject gloom had a name. Enthralled by the moody, ambiguous crime dramas, French critics recognized the stirrings of something new in American cinema. Attending Kit Noir recreated that experience of dark discovery, the sense of an intricate web being woven before your eyes.

The patterns—thematic, tonal, and visual—practically leap off the screen and offer you a drink. Or maybe more like the all-consuming black pool that swallows up Philip Marlowe, so cleverly featured in the Kit Noir trailer below. I was especially glad to see 2 period noirs, set amidst the artificial fog of backlot London. Gordon Kit hopes that future festivals will delve more into the deep cuts of film noir. As you know, some of the best noir films are B films! Thus, we could easily run a festival beyond 10 years!

A film noir marathon is like an exfoliant for the soul. You emerge slightly shaken, sensitive to light, and determined to stay on the straight-and-narrow, to morally detox. Unfortunately, weather kept me from seeing the first Kit Noir screening The Maltese Falcon and travel prevented me from seeing the last Scarlet Street. I filled a whole notebook with scribbles during the screenings, so this is actually a condensed version…. It was the walk of a dead man.

Her technique and John F. Which is why those eyes are so important. On the big screen, Double Indemnity immerses you in the stark, impersonal reality of everyday life in a s urban environment. Gallows humor is as much a part of noir as lipstick and gunsmoke. Seeing Double Indemnity with an audience made me realize just how funny it is, especially towards the beginning. Wilder charms you into thinking that everything might turn out okay, despite the inevitability of doom set up by the frame story.

If you compare the beginning to the end, the contrast is shocking. Thus Double Indemnity hints at the ease with which anybody can be drawn into an irreversible cycle of guilt. I knew that before, but the crushing heaviness of the final darkness spooked me in a way it never could on my television screen.

The implicit social criticism of Double Indemnity also hit home more powerfully on this viewing. Walter and Phyllis kill a man for his money. Yet, ironically, even they have more of a conscience than the ruthless system that they try to cheat. With all due respect to Hitchcock, I find this adaptation of The Lodger infinitely scarier.

2. Brain Drain

In particular, the murder of Annie—as she shakes and gasps in panic, backing away from an unseen assailant represented by the juddering camera—feels 10 or 20 years ahead of its time. In a weekend full of dark movies, there was no grittier or more disturbing scene than this pitiful woman, who lives on scraps and rags, thrashing with terror in her last moments of life.

On a lighter note, character actress Sara Allgood impressed me with how much of the film she carries on her shoulders. Her conflicting motivations, intelligence, and courage drive the film forward. Her grounded, no-nonsense goodness counterbalances the violent, unhinged zealotry of the Bible-thumping killer, Slade. Overall, he paints a murky, confining environment where cozy parlors and fetid back alleys alike are pregnant with the possibility of unspeakable deeds. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of the film is the queerness of the Jack the Ripper figure. Slade kills women, we understand, not only because they elicit his desire, but also because he seeks to punish the women like the one who destroyed the object of his first and deepest affection.

As a music hall performer, Kitty displays herself for the pleasure of her audience, enjoys doing so, and profits by it. In this sense, she welcomes and owns the gaze and the desire of her male audience, rather than allowing it to own her. During the first dance sequence, a winking close up of Oberon over a parasol transmits her wry joy in her profession. As he sweats and watches agape, we can see horror and arousal in his face. His anger is not with her beauty, but with her mastery of the situation, the power she derives from performing and displaying her beauty. At the risk of stretching this analysis too far, the flirty dance sequence, made sinister by a single spectator, links censorship to sick minds and violent perversions of desire.

Brahm and just about every other director had to deal with the Production Code boys in some capacity. By wanting to eradicate a source of temptation, Brahm suggests, you reveal your own hypocrisy and frailty. Do they want to destroy Kitty and Laura because they desire those women… or because they desire the men that those women attract?