Sunday, November 30, 2014

Where is Alfred?

Described as the “best movie Alfred Hitchcock never made”. “Charade" is the December CLASSIC MOVIE in Bigfork. What is the Hitchcock connection? Come to the Edge Center for the Arts to find out. “Charade” combines mistaken identity, money, the CIA, a damsel in distress, a gallant hero, and much more. Two of the most alluring film stars of the 60’s, Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant, teamed up to create a thrilling romantic comedy set in the French Alps and Paris Shown by Jack Nachbar at The Edge Center in Bigfork on December 11th at 6:30PM free of charge accompanied by Jack’s presentation providing a better understanding of the film and the film industry at the time period of the picture.  Of course there will be a cartoon of the same period to lighten you up a bit at first.

Getting Hepburn and Grant in the same film was a gamble and a challenge for the Universal Pictures Studio. Other actors were willing to play their parts, but were too expensive. The age difference of 26 years between the stars was also a factor. In the end, they got the parts and made their only film together. When you see the movie, you can appreciate the great work they did together and can only wonder what might have been.

The plot twists and turns to keep viewers on their toes. The movie begins with the beautiful Hepburn character on vacation, then returning to Paris determined to get a divorce. She arrives there only to find her apartment empty, her husband murdered, and lots of money missing. This sets everything in motion for a thrilling audience-teaser show, set to the music of Henry Mancini and Johnny Mercer. In addition to the lead star-power, the film has a great supporting cast, including Walter Matthau, George Kennedy, and James Colburn.

“All I want for Christmas is to make another movie with Audrey Hepburn” is what Cary Grant said after making this movie. Cary, an English stage and Hollywood film actor, became an American citizen in 1942. His European accent, sophisticated persona, and good looking charm made him a Hollywood defining leading man. The American Film Institute named him the second Greatest Male Film Star of all time. Despite his accolades, he was often passed over for awards. Nominated twice for the Academy Award for Best Actor, and five times for a Golden Globe Award, it was not until 1970 that he was presented with an Honorary Oscar. In “Charade”, he plays Brian Cruikshank (alias Peter Joshua, alias Alexander “Alex” Dyle, alias Adam Canfield) who is the love interest of Hepburn’s character, Regina Lampert. 

Audrey Hepburn’s character, Regina Lampert, had to be portrayed as a woman who was pursuing Grant’s character. He was worried about the public’s perception of the age difference as it related to his character. Hepburn plays a clueless, beautiful woman who graces us with her style. She is caught between the men who are trying to solve the murder, frame people for the murder, and find the hidden money that they know is out there. She was a stunningly naturally beautiful British actress, humanitarian, and film/fashion icon during Hollywood’s Golden Age.

She was born in Brussels and spent her childhood between Brussels, England, and the Netherlands. She took ballet lessons for years, was a chorus girl in England, and spoke several languages. Audrey was in the Broadway play “Gigi” in 1951 when she was picked as the lead role in “Roman Holiday” for which she was the first actress to win an Academy Award, a Golden Globe, and a BAFTA for a single performance. She is ranked by the American Film Institute as the third greatest American female screen legend in the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame.

Henry Mancini composed the music and Johnny Mercer wrote the lyric. They also teamed up for other great song like “Moon River” and Days of “Wine and Roses”.  Regarding his work on the Charade theme,  Mancini commented: "Our next film together was 'Charade' in 1963. Stanley Donen directed Peter Stone's screenplay. There is a scene in the movie where Audrey returns from a happy winter holiday to her Paris flat to find it stripped of everything of value. Bare floors and the walls are all that remain. Her loutish husband had absconded with all of her worldly goods. She enters the dimly-lit apartment with her suitcase and surveys the scene. Her feelings are of sadness, loneliness and vulnerability. To me, it translated into a sad little Parisian waltz. With that image of Audrey in my mind, I went to the piano and within less than an hour 'Charade' was written. I played it for Audrey and Stanley. Both felt it was just right for the movie. Johnny Mercer added his poetry, and the song was nominated for an Oscar that year".

Henry Mancini was born in Cleveland and raised near Pittsburgh. The only son of an Italian immigrant, he was made to take piccolo lessons at eight and played the flute with his father in an Italian immigrant band. Henery also took piano lessons, attended Juilliard School of music with those studies interrupted by service in WWII. After the service he started his music career eventually as pianist and arranger for a newly constituted Glen Miller band. He was one of the industry’s most talented artists winning four Academy Awards, a Golden Globe, and ten Grammy Awards, plus a posthumous Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Anyone who has heard “Moon River”, “The Pink Panther” or “Peter Gunn” themes has heard Mancini music.

Johnny Mercer is best known as a lyricist, but also composed music and was co-founder of Capitol Records. Over the period of his career, received 19 academy award nominations and won four. Born in Savanna Georgia, he was familiar with black music and was a Jazz music fan early in his life. His education at a prestigious university was sidetracked by family financial issues and his life took a different path. A path that was very good for American popular music. He wrote the lyrics to more than fifteen hundred songs, including compositions for movies and Broadway shows.

So come and enjoy romance and suspense in Paris, as Audrey Hepburn’s character is pursued by several men who want a fortune her murdered husband had stolen. Who can she trust? Cary Grant’s character? Are you sure? This movie is presented free of charge and with some appropriate snacks courtesy of Jack and his wife/projectionist Lynn.  Place: The Edge Center for the Arts, Bigfork. Date and time: Thursday December 11th at 6:30PM. Price of admission: free.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Music on the Amazon in Bigfork

The family movie “Rio 2” is a special holiday treat for the whole family from the Children First initiative of  the ISD 318 Community Education program . “Rio 2” is the sequel to the very successful “Rio” movie.  Both are animated features for the whole family with lot of music, color, excitement, and fun.  With top movie stars providing the voices and the scenery of a tropical paradise, it will certainly take the chill out of a December day. It is on Wednesday December 3rd from 5:30PM to 7:30PM on the big screen of the Edge Center theatre. The showing is free to anyone. Children under 12 years old will need to be accompanied by an adult. So come warm up, hear some great music, and enjoy the flowers and greenery of a tropical rain-forest for a little break from the snow and cold outside.

“Rio 2 is a 2014 American 3D computer-animated musical adventure-comedy film produced by Blue Sky Studios and directed by Carlos Saldanha. It is the sequel to the 2011 computer-animated film Rio and the studio's first film to have a sequel outside of their existing Ice Age franchise. The title refers to the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro, where the first film was set and Rio 2 begins, though most of its plot occurs in the Amazon rainforest.”

“Featuring the returning voices of Jesse Eisenberg, Anne Hathaway,, Jamie Foxx, George Lopez, Tracy Morgan, Jemaine Clement, Leslie Mann, Rodrigo Santoro, and Jake T. Austin, the film was released internationally on March 20, 2014,[4] and on April 11, 2014,[4] in American theaters. Rio 2 was Don Rhymer's final film after he died on November 28, 2012. Despite receiving mixed reviews, the film was a box office success.” Below is movie poster from RIO 2 and RIO. Above from:

And keep remembering that The Children First! mission of ISD 618 says...Children First! will mobilize communities to actively educate, nuture, and care for all children in Itasca County.