Saturday, September 26, 2009

I just added some tunes to my blog. Scroll down and click on the player!

Tips on Tables...Vintage NY Nightclub reviews and info

Vintage nightclub and restaurant reviews from the 1940's and 1950's mostly from the New York City area,

part 2- To Sir Dirk with Love......Darling (1965)


Julie Christie -Diana Scott
Dirk Bogarde -Robert Gold
Laurence Harvey -Miles Brand
Roland Curram- Malcolm
José-Luis de Villalonga- Prince Cesare
Basil Henson- Alec Prosser-Jones
Helen Lindsay- Felicity Prosser-Jones
Angus MacKay- Ivor Dawlish
Umberto -Raho Palucci
Irene Richmond -Mrs. Glass
Alex Scott- Sean Martin
Lydia Sherwood- Lady Brentwood
Brian Wilde- Willett
Pauline Yates -Estelle Gold
Hugo Dixon- Matthew Southgate
Ann -Firbank Sybil
John Heller- Gerhard
Tyler Butterworth William Presser-Jones
Annette Carell Billie Castiglione
Georgina Cookson Carlotta Hale
James Cossins Basildon
Peter Bayliss- Lord Grant
Jean Claudio- Raoul Maxim
Marika Rivera-Woman
Ernst Walder- Kurt
Richard Bidlake -Rupert Crabtree
Sidonie Bond -Gillian
Margaret Gordon -Helen Dawlish
Carlo -Palmucci Curzio
Dante- Posani Gino
Lucille Soong- Allie

John Schlesinger-Director
Joseph Janni-Producer
Frederic Raphael-Screenwriter
Johnny Dankworth-Composer (Music Score)
Ken Higgins-Cinematographer
Victor Lyndon-Associate Producer
John Harris-Camera Operator
Miriam Brickman-Casting
Julie Harris-Costume Designer
Jim Clark-Editor
Kip Gowans-First Assistant Director
Bob Lawrence-Makeup
Ray Simm-Production Designer, Set Designer
David Folkes-Set Designer

This Swinging British drama depicts the life and times of a fickle,amoral ambitious model and her many men.  The film is structured around Diana's involvements with a series of men. Each relationship makes an important point about her character.

It begins with a billboard worker plastering Diana’s face, in an advertisement for “her story” being published in a magazine (the premise of the film’s voice-over narration), over an older billboard for helping world hunger. Then you hear Diana speaking to an interviewer about her life.  A recurring theme in the movie is that (Diana doesn’t want to hurt anyone through her affairs, but she ends up narcissistic and jaded, always looking for a new way to entertain herself) “It should be so easy to be happy, shouldn’t it?” Diana asks.  Diana has no concept of fidelity and will seemingly have an affair with anyone who she thinks can help her in her career. Christie's Darling is anything but a darling. She plays a women you love to hate. No wonder she won an Oscar for her portrayl of Diana.

The men in Diana's life are:
  • Tony: It was a Teen marriage. She is bored with him.
  • Robert: a television journalist who reports on such intellectual subjects like literature and the people's view on the moral state of London. Superbly acted by Dirk Bogarde. He is cool and the definition of elegance. Watch his facial experssions closely.  The camera loved Bogarde's face. With great insight, Bogarde once commented, "The camera photographs thought," which was one clue to why his film performances were so compelling. He is calm, cool and collected in his scenes with Julie Christie.  He also has great dialog, especially in the last part of the movie. You will be cheering for him.
  • Miles Brand: Arrogant public relations mogul. Played by Laurence Harvey . Not a stretch for Harvey.  He usually plays these types of characters. 
  • Malcom: Gay photographer who travels to Italy with Diana
  • Millionaire Italian widower Cesare- played by  Jose-Luis deVillalonga
Newsreel and Handheld camera footage are used between each romance to help the story along.  I left out alot of the plot. I did not want to spoil it for anyone who has not seen the movie. On the whole, I liked the movie. I think that Dirk Bogarde should have been nominated for an Academy Award. He really deserved the BAFTA that he won for this movie. I do not care for Laurence Harvey. He always seems wooden to me.

Mod girls, you will love the clothes !  This film definitely deserved the Oscar it won for best black-and-white costume design.


Academy Awards:
Best Actress-Julie Christie
Best Costume Design-Julie Harris
Best Screenplay-Frederic Raphael 

Best Actor-Dirk Bogarde
Best Actress-Julie Christie
Best British Art Direction (B/W)-Ray Simm
Best British Screenplay-Frederic Raphael

Diana Scott: Taxi!

Robert Gold: We're not taking a taxi.

Diana Scott: Why not?

Robert Gold: I don't take whores in taxis

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

To Sir With Love...................

This is a love letter of sorts... Not to Sidney Pointer, but to Sir Dirk Bogarde.  Strangely, Dirk Bogarde never became a major star in the United States. I’m sure he was well known in the US in the ’50s and ’60s, but he wasn’t the superstar he was in Britain or the top star he was internationally.

Sir Dirk Bogarde, distinguished film actor and writer, was born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde on March 28, 1921, to Ulric van den Bogaerde, the art editor of "The Times" (London) newspaper, and actress Margaret Niven in the London suburb of Hampstead. He was one of three children, with sister Elizabeth and younger brother Gareth. His father was Flemish and his mother was of Scottish descent.

Educated at the Allen Glen's School in Glasgow, he also attended London's University College School before majoring in commercial art at Chelsea Polytechnic, where his teachers included Henry Moore. Though his father wanted his eldest son to follow him into the "Times" as an art critic and had groomed him for that role, Derek dropped out of his commercial art course and became a drama student, though his acting talent at that time was unpromising. In the 1930s he went to work as a commercial artist and a scene designer.

 He apprenticed as an actor with the Amersham Repertory Company, and made his acting debut in 1939 on a small London stage, the Q Theatre, in a role in which he delivered only one line.

The September 1939 invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union triggered World War II, and in 1940 Derek Bogarde joined the Queen's Royal Regiment as an officer. He served in the Air Photographic Intelligence Unit and eventually attained the rank of major. Nicknamed "Pippin" and "Pip" during the war, he was awarded seven medals in his five years of active duty. He wrote poems and painted during the war, and in 1943, a small magazine published one of his poems, "Steel Cathedrals," which subsequently was anthologized. His paintings of the war are part of the Imperial War Museum's collection.

After the war, he won a film contract from the Rank studios after World War II. After appearing for a decade mainly in light comedies in the early 60's, he began demonstrating his acting range in more serious films.  In 1984, he became President of the jury at the Cannes Film Festival, and 1992 he was knighted by The Queen of England. He spent his later years as a writer. He past away in 1999. Thank you Sir Dirk, for  providing me with joy filled hours of entertainment.  I got to know Sir Dirk better when TCM devoted a day to his films. Up until last month I had only seen Victim, Darling, Modesty Blaze and I Could Go on Singing. I read the summary for The Servant and was immediately curious.  Here  is the first review in a seris of three.

The Servant (1963)

Dirk Bogarde - Hugo Barrett
Sarah Miles - Vera

Wendy Craig - Susan

James Fox - Tony

Catherine Lacey - Lady Mounset

Richard Vernon - Lord Mounset

Ann Firbank - Society Woman

Patrick Magee - Bishop

Jill Melford - Younger Woman

Alun Owen - Curate

Harold Pinter - Society Man

Dorothy Bromiley - Girl Outside Phone Box
Johnny Dankworth - Jazz Bandleader

Gerry Duggan - Waiter

Philippa Hare - Girl in Bedroom

Brian Phelan - Man in Pub

Alison Seebohm - Girl in Pub
Derek Tansley - Head Waiter

Joseph Losey - Director / Producer
Norman Priggen - Producer

Robin Maugham - Book Author
Harold Pinter - Screenwriter / Songwriter

Douglas Slocombe - Cinematographer
Johnny Dankworth - Composer (Music Score) / Musical Direction/Supervision / Songwriter
Reginald Mills - Editor
Richard Macdonald - Production Designer
Ted Clements - Art Director / Set Designer

Beatrice Dawson - Costume Designer
Bob Lawrence - Makeup
Roy Stevens - First Assistant Director

Chic Waterson - Camera Operator
Teresa Bolland - Production Manager


The Servant is a film that will capture your attention from beginning to end. Few films have gotten as much mileage out of Britain's caste system as The Servant.  John Dankworth’s somewhat depressing background music enhances the story’s dismal mood. All the acting is good. It is a black comedy charting the uneasy relation ship between weak willed young aristocrat Tony (James Fox) and  Hugo Barrett (Dirk Bogarde) as his devious, reserved manservant. 

The film shows Tony’s mental and moral disintegration under the powerful influence of his recently hired manservant Barrett. Suggesting that the house could use a little fixing up, Barrett convinces Tony to spend a whopping amount of money on it. But this is just a warm-up session for Barrett, who by mid-film is calling all the shots in Tony's household, all the while pretending to keep his place. Tony's fiance Wendy Craig sees through Barrett's game. Barrette then brings his own lady friend (Vera) Sarah Miles into the house.  Things change for the worse when Barrett arranges for his own fiancace Vera to seduce Tony, and even worse when Tony discovers them (Barrett and Vera) frolicking in his bed one night.

Servant is fired,–servant is rehired. Money gets a bit tight. They play games. This part of the film is think with homosexual inuendo. Is there, just maybe, something sexual going on between Master and Servant, that even they aren’t aware of? What is going on in the hide-and-seek game?  Will Master get a grip on himself and send Servant packing for good?  What was the servants rationale for corrupting Tony (money? control? sexual longing?) The film is worth watching to find out.

There was not anything spectacular in the movie to speak of.

British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) 
  •     Best Black and White Cinematography-Douglas Slocombe 1963
  •     Best British Actor-Dirk Bogarde 1963 
  •     Best Film - Any Source 1963 
  •     Most Promising Newcomer-James Fox 1963
New York Film Critics Circle
  •     Best Screenplay-Harold Pinter 1964
[on the Cannes Film Festival]- "My idea of hell. You see all the people you thought were dead and all the people who deserve to be dead. After a while, you start to think you might be dead, too."

[to Russell Harty during a 1986 interview]" But I'm still in the shell, and you haven't cracked it yet, honey."


Just a big thank you to all 6 of you that have  become members of my blog. I will try to get a new post completed each week. Spread the word!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Coming Soon..Review of three Dirk Bogarde movies

Here's  a preview....

Recipes from Classic Film Stars

Dirk Bogarde's Spanish Paella


1 large young chicken
8 oz. lean pork
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 oz. butter
1 large clove garlic, crushed
1 large Spanish onion, finely chopped
3 large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 sweet red pepper, chopped
1 lb. rice
1½ pints (U.S. 3¾ cups) boiling chicken stock
½ teaspoon saffron
Salt and pepper
Bay Leaves
1 medium-sized lobster
1 pint (U.S. 2½ cups) prawns, shelled*
  * prawns (U.S. Shrimp)

Cut the chicken into slices and the meat into small pieces. Fry the chicken and pork in hot oil and butter in a large shallow pan. Fry till golden brown and then add the garlic and the onion. Allow to brown and then add the tomatoes, peppers and the rice. Fry for about 2 minutes and then add the boiling stock with the saffron and the seasonings. Chop the lobster into slices, but do not shell, and add to the dish with the prawns. Bring to the boil, cover and either cook on the top of the stove or in a hot oven (450 degrees F) for 20 minutes until the rice is tender, by which time all the stock should have been absorbed.

From “Celebrity Cooking: Dishes Chosen by the Famous,” edited by Renee Hellman. (Paul Hamlyn Limited, 1967

Monday, September 14, 2009

Women's Prison (1955)

Ida Lupino... Amelia van Zandt
Jan Sterling... Brenda Martin
Cleo Moore... Mae
Audrey Totter... Joan Burton
Phyllis Thaxter... Helene Jensen
Howard Duff... Dr. Crane
Warren Stevens... Glen Burton
Barry Kelley... Warden Brock
Gertrude Michael... Chief Matron Sturgess
Vivian Marshall... Dottie LaRose
Mae Clarke... Matron Saunders
Ross Elliott... Don Jensen
Adelle August... Grace
Don C. Harvey... Chief Guard Tierney
Juanita Moore... Polyclinic 'Polly' Jones

Lewis Seiler-Director
Brian Foy-Producer
Jack DeWitt-Screenplay
Crane Wilbur-Writer

Women in prison films have been around a long time. It’s a genre with timeless camp appeal. Actually, this is not only a women’s prison, men are also housed on the same location. A giant wall and razor wire seperate the two divisions.

To create a good prison movie you should:

*Start with a sadistic, borderline psychotic female warden played by Ida Lapino

*have a new inmate that is utterly out of place with criminals (housewife type)

*Add a wise cracking, slutty, bleach blonde repeat offender

*Include some funny and or crazy additional inmates in the mix

*Have a caring Prison Doctor to cause conflict with the female warden

Women’s Prison delivers all of the above and more. The beatings, mental abuse and riot only add to this movie’s appeal. This movie even has a twist—the prison is co-ed and occasionally a male prisoner slips over to the female side to get some loving!

I wanted to keep this review short. If you need some cheering up on a rainy day, watch this movie. A great choice for a rainy Friday night. You will be LOL throughout the entire movie.

Caged (1950) is a better prison  movie, but not as funny.


Nothing worth mentioning! Standard Prison garb. Ida Lupino does flash some cool cat eye glasses. I would like to own those!

Problems with Movie:

Continuity: During a sequence showing concurrent events at a co-ed prison (men on one side of wall, women on the other), the women are seen in the yard in sunny weather with short-sleeved uniforms, while the men's side is rainy, with prisoners in heavy coats.

Memorable Quotes:

Brenda Martin: Dottie's from show business.
Dotty LaRose: Yeah, stripteaser. But I always wanted to do impersonations. I wanted to take off people, not my clothes, and thats why I am doing a stretch from ten to life.
Helene Jensen: Ten to life for just taking off your clothes?
Dotty LaRose: No. I shot my agent.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Circle of Friends Award

I received a surprise this evening. When I logged on, I discovered that I had won a The Circle of Friends Award. Rupert Alistair author of received it recently and passed the award to me. He writes clever, and detailed reviews of classic movies.

Many of you may wonder why I picked the name-Midnite at Sunset and Vine. I chose the name Midnite at Sunset and Vine because that is where all the late night action is in Hollywood. CBS/Paramount radio studios used to be on the corner of Vine and Sunset. The famous Brown Derby restaurant was nearby on Vine. If you have not visited L.A., The Sunset Strip winds through Beverly Hills, Hollywood to Westwood and eventually changes it’s name to The Pacific Coast Hwy. I visited Los Angeles in 1995 and was immediately enchanted with "the City of Angels,"dispite the OJ Simpson Trial madness that was going on at that time.

I only spent 3 days there and hope to return in a few years. I visited Universal Studios and took the tour. Next time, I am going to Warner Bros and Fox Studios for tours.

I will review Women's Prison (1955) on Monday September 14th.

Character Actor Corner

Today's spotlight shines on Juanita Moore.

Born October 19, 1922 (some sources say 1918),  in Los Angeles, CA .  Juanita was a former Cotton Club chorus girl.  She began her career as a film extra, later honing her craft in local stage productions at the Ebony Showcase, Theater.

In 1949, she made her feature film debut in  "Pinky" playing a nurse. In 1959, she received an Academy Award nomination for her performance in "Imitation of Life" (1959), a glossy updating of a once controversial Fannie Hurst novel about racism. Moore's character is a single parent to a bi-racial daughter.  Lana Turner starred in this remake.  The original movie was made in 1934 and starred Claudette Cobert and Louise Beavers.

She is the fourth African American to be nominated for an Academy Award in any category, and the third in the Supporting Actress category.  Juanita lost the Award to Shelley Winters.
Immediately after the Academy Awards, Moore traveled to London to perform in A Raisin in the Sun. She played the part of Lena Younger. She also appeared as Sister Boxer in  The Amen Corner in  New York City in  1965 and 1969.

With the advent of the black-themed films in the late 60s and early 70s, Moore saw some improvement in the types of parts in which she was cast. Mostly, she undertook matriarchal roles in movies like "Uptight" (1968), a loose remake of 1935's "The Informer", "The Mack" (1973) and "Abby" (1974). Her appearances tapered off in the 1980s as she cared for an ill spouse. At a time when many in her profession might consider retirement, Moore renewed her career returning to movies after a dozen years in the small role of a wise and warm, advice-dispensing grandmother in "Disney's The Kid" (2000). She was actually cast in The Kid, while attending an audition with her grandson.  Moore went on to land guest parts on such high profile TV shows like "ER" and "Judging Amy".

After appearing in over 35 films, numerous episodic appearances, and two plays,she continues to be active.  She teaches acting classes to children at The Ebony Showcase Theater.

She also had a bit part in Women's Prison (1955). I will post my review later this afternoon.

Juanita's recent photo.