Lynn Redgrave, Oscar and Tony nominated actress, died this week after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 67.
Part of England's most heralded acting family (father Michael (who was married to actress Rachel Kempson), sister Vanessa, brother Corin, not to mention nieces Natasha and Joley Richardson, among others), she began her film career with an appearance in the Oscar winning "Tom Jones." But she came to prominence with her performance as Georgy in 1966's "Georgy Girl." This performance brought her worldwide acclaim and earned her Best Actress awards from the Golden Globes, New York Film Critics and the organization of which I am currently (and proudly) vice president, the Kansas City Film Critics Circle. In fact, Ms. Redgrave shared the award from the KCFCC that year with an actress she was very familiar with...her sister Vanessa, whose work in "Camelot" was recognized. She also earned Best Actress nominations for both the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs, as well as a second Golden Globe nomination as Most Promising Newcomer - Female (the winner was Camilla Sparv for a film called "Dead Heat On a Merry Go Round," a movie best remembered as Harrison Ford's movie debut). She also shares a bit of Oscar trivia with Vanessa because that year they became the second sisters to compete against each other for Best Actress (Vanessa was nominated for a film called "Morgan: A Suitable Case for Treatment"). Neither won, with the Oscar going to Elizabeth Taylor for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?" In 1941, sisters Joan Fontaine ("Suspicion") and Olivia de Havilland ("Hold Back the Dawn") were both nominated for the Best Actress award. Fontaine won. The award hightened an already bitter jealousy between the sisters and they remained estranged from each other for decades.
She spent the next few years working in England, alternating between film and television. She made her American film debut in director Sidney Lumet's "Last of the Mobile Hot Shots" and then appeared as 'The Queen' in Woody Allen's "Everything You Wanted to Know About Sex * But Were Afraid to Ask." She later starred as author (and prostitute) Xaviera Hollander in "The Happy Hooker" and appeared in the mini series "Beggarman, Thief," the continuation of "Rich Man, Poor Man." She worked continually in television and film for the next three decades, including starring in the series "House Calls" with Wayne Rogers. In 1998 she earned her second Oscar nomination, this time as Best Supporting Actress, for her role as Hanna, filmmaker James Whale's housekeeper, in "Gods and Monsters." That year she also began a three year run in the Showtime series "Rude Awakening." Her last filmed appearances include roles on "Desperate Housewives" and "Ugly Betty."
In between film roles Redgrave returned to her first love, the theater. She earned Tony Award nominations for her roles in "Mrs. Warren's Profession" (1976) and "Shakespeare for My Father" (1993). I had the great privelege of seeing Ms. Redgrave on Broadway in 1987 in the play "Sweet Sue," which also starred Mary Tyler Moore. The show gained much notoriety because of the full frontal nudity required of the men in the cast, sadly taking away from the work of the actresses. I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Redgrave after the show and she was incredibly gracious.
Following her 2002 diagnosis of breast cancer Ms. Redgrave and her daughter, Annabel Clarke, documented her experiences in a book called "Journal: A Mother and Daughter's Recovery from Breast Cancer."
No matter how many times you think a film idea has run its course Hollywood manages to find a way to keep it going. "Jaws the Revenge." "The Next Karate Kid." the last 4 "Police Academy" films. Now comes a movie you would swear had a definite ending: "Titanic 2." The film, to star Bruce Davison, follows the voyage of a new ship on the 100th anniversary of the first ships' sinking. When a tsunami blows an iceberg into it's path, it's up to.....sorry, I can't finish this. Look for the movie in August on DVD.
Twentieth Century Fox has set a release date of June 24, 2011 for the prequel, "Planet of the Apes: Rise of the Apes." The film, to be directed by Rupert Wyatt, will feature an all CGI created cast of Apes courtesy of Peter Jackson's Weta Digital.
Also getting a release date (though still missing a director): "Mission: Impossile 4," which right now is slated to hit the screen on December 16, 2011.
May 25, 2012 is the estimated release date for the soon to film "Men In Black 3D," which will once again star Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. The third film, once again directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, will feature our two agents going back in time to investigate events involving a young agent "K," rumored to be played by Josh Brolin. Speaking of Smith, "Bad Boys 3" is currently in pre-prodction and would be Smith's next project after "MIB 3D."
The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkercief - by Monty Python
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life - Original Soundtrack Recording
I thought I would continue in last week's comedy vein with a pair of classics. Again, let me give full credit of my introduction to Monty Python to Scott Gilbert, on whose turntable many of their albums spun. And I'm sure one of them was the Python's "Matching Tie and Handkerchief." The comedy begins with the packaging itself. When you remove the jacket from the album what looked like an innocent tie and handkerchief is actually the suit of a character who has hung himself. Inside the album is labled "FREE RECORD - Given Away with the Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkercief." Not even a listing of the comedy gems enclosed therein. In fact, the full title of the album actually is "Free Record Given Away With The Monty Python Matching Tie and Handkerchief." My copy is a second pressing. The original pressing actually came with a matching tie and handkerchief and was sold at menswear stores in England.
Another unique feature is that the album contains THREE sides. While side one has just one set of grooves side two has two sets of grooves, which meant what you heard was dependent on where you put your needle when you started the record. As there were no listings on the cover or album, it was meant to confuse owners who, on a repeated listen, may wonder why they were hearing something different. Among the classic skits on the LP:
The Church Police
The Cheese Shop ("Shut that bloody bazooki off!"
Wasp Club/Tiger Talk
Minister for Overseas Development ("Oh my, Mrs. Niggerbaiter exploded!"
Here's a look at the Cheese Shop:
The final film from the Pythons was "The Meaning of Life," a hysterically funny at the various stages of life we all go through, from birth to death. The group had included a few musical numbers in their earlier films ("Knights of the Round Table" in "Holy Grail," "Always Look On the Brightside of Life" in "Life of Brian") but here a musical number accompanies almost every stage. The majority of the songs were written by Eric Idle, who later went on to write the Tony Award winning musical "Spamalot!"
Popular numbers on the album include "The Galaxy Song," "Christmas in Heaven," "The Penis Song" and my personal favorite, "Every Sperm Is Sacred, which reminds us:
You don't have to be a six footer
You don't have to have a great brain
You don't have to have any clothes on
You're a Catholic the moment dad came
Here, sing along:
And for those of you tired of playing Beer Pong, the album also includes directions for a game called "Shitties," which "involves the retention of coins between the bottocks and their delivery into a beer mug from a height of 24 inches or more." Have fun!
Well, that's all for now. Have a great week. See ya!
"Mike's Rant" is ©2010 by Michael A. Smith. Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of Nolan B. Canova. All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2010 by Nolan B. Canova.