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Source: Joan Collins Archives

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

Unlike Seven Thieves which I blogged about a couple weeks ago Joan Collins and Paul Newman, really are the only two reasons to watch Rally Round The Flag Boys. Joanne Woodward is pretty cute and funny in it, Jack Carson is great as the stumbling awkward U.S. Army Captain who tries to come off as a lot tougher than he actually is. Jack Carson is simply one of the top comedic actors of his generation.

But the first hour of this movie is pretty funny with Joan playing this beautiful (if not gorgeous) rich housewife in this small town about an hour outside of New York City who really only has one problem. Her wealthy business executive husband never sees her. The man is either working all the time at the office, out-of-town on business (or with his mistresses’s) or going out with his mistresses. I added the mistress part myself to make it sound funny, but the point being the man is never around and never seen with his beautiful adorable wife Angela Hoffa (played by Joan Collins) in the entire movie. And Joan can get kinda prickly about little things like never seeing her husband. Even if he gives her an allowance that makes her a millionaire.

But Angela comes across Harry Bannerman (played by Paul Newman) early in the movie when he gets to the train station in their small town coming back from work and his wife is too busy to pick him up. Angela just happens to be there perhaps thinking this might be the night where she actually gets to spend some time with her husband, but of course he’s still not there and still at work. And offers to drive Harry home. And that is where Angela and Harry who are neighbors get to know each other a little bit and find out that they have something in common. Which is they don’t get to see their spouses very often.

Harry’s wife Grace Bannerman (played by Joanne Woodward) is the busiest housewife in Putnam’s Landing if not America as a whole. Except she’s not very busy at home (if you get my drift) but instead is more like a First Lady and is involved in every civil activity known to man. At least in Putnam’s Landing and isn’t around much for her husband Harry, but he works a lot as well and doesn’t see his wife a lot either. They have a townhall meeting in Putnam’s and the Mayor there announces that the U.S. Army wants to open a base there, but won’t tell them why they need the base there. And his wife is appointed to run a new committee to deal with the new Army base coming to town. And appoints her husband to be the liaison between the town and U.S. Army about the base coming to town. Harry just happens to work in public relations and is in the U.S. Naval Reserve so is very qualified for this job.

To get back to Joan Collins which is really the only reason why I’m writing about this. There are two very hysterical scenes in this movie where Joan is her usually adorably funny self. Perhaps three with her picking up Paul Newman early in the movie and driving him home. But the first one being where Paul drives Joan home from the meeting because his wife stays late at the meeting and Joan invites him in to her home. And they have a hilarious but innocent party where they get drunk and do a lot of dancing and fall back down the stairs together after trying to go upstairs.

The other scene being where Joan follows Paul to his hotel in Washington where he’s there to talk to the Pentagon about his new role in Putnam’s and gets to his hotel room and Joan is there waiting for him. Harry makes it real clear that he’s happily married and doesn’t want to get involved, but Angela doesn’t take no at least not very easily and makes a big play for him. And Harry’s wife arrives there and sees them together. After that the movies gets really silly and looks more like musical comedy than anything else.

I saw this movie a few months ago and have it on DVD and tweeted that and shared that on Google+ as well that the only reason I saw this movie was to see the adorably funny Joan Collins in it. Joan actually saw that and liked it. Saw this movie over the weekend to refresh my memory about it and to prepare for this piece. Take Joan Collins out of this movie and replace her with a much more ordinary woman who doesn’t have Joan’s comedic ability and talent like a Deborah Kerr or someone like that (no offense to Deborah Kerr) and I don’t have much incentive to watch this movie, at least not a 2nd time. This movie is an example where a great actress and actor can pull the movie together by themselves. Especially if that actress is as beautiful, adorable, sexy, and funny as a Joan Collins.

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Source: James Neff- Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward 

James Neff: Rally Round The Flag Boys 1958

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Rebel Without a Cause

Rebel Without a Cause

Source: This piece was originally posted at The Daily Review

I guess I sort of see James Dean as the male version of Jayne Mansfield. (No, I’m not trying to be insulting) As a very talented entertainer, but someone who lacked personal discipline and self-confidence. I believe another good comparison to Jim Dean would be Jim Morrison. Again, talented entertainer who got as most out of their young lives as they could until they died. The Lizard King, was an alcoholic and probably addicted to illegal drugs as well and Dean was more of an adrenaline junky I guess who was always moving fast and couldn’t slow down. A Rebel Without a Cause, a famous movie. but it could be the biography of Jimmy Dean. He was way ahead of time culturally and when it came to style. Was probably born ten years too early as far as the lifestyle that he lived.

I’m not an expert on James Dean, but the information I’ve seen on him is that he’s a pop culture superstar. People love him, because he was cool. I mean lets face it, he died at 24 and had just three film credits under his belt. Not exactly a deep resume to go on and to judge his life by. People like Dean because he was cool, he was real, he was honest, he played himself in his movies, he seemed like he wasn’t acting, but being a real person instead. In many ways reminds me of the great actress Kim Novak who had the ability to literally become the person that she was playing. She also had some luck there, because a lot of the roles she had were very similar to who she was in real-life. Jim Dean is a lot like that, but of course without as deep of a resume. So there’s a lot to like about Dean and easy to see why so many people still love him.
Alison Martino: James Dean Mysteries and Scandals

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Ed Murrow
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

This is one reason why I’m definitely a big fan of George Clooney, besides his great sense of humor and charm, but his intelligence and knowledge about the issues that he likes to film about. Ed Murrow and the Ed Murrow-Joe McCarthy battle in the 1950s over communism and fascism. Who knows Ed Murrow so well and this story so well and you see that in this interview and in the movie. And you also see how much he respected Ed Murrow and how big of a thug and fascist that Senator Joe McCarthy was in the 1950s. Even if Ann Coulter is never smart enough to see that.

Ed Murrow knew how dangerous Senator McCarthy was in the 1950s and represented everything that America is supposed to be against and something I believe a large majority if not most Americans are against, which is fascism. And this blog covers fascism from both the Far-Right and Far-Left because it hates fascism. People telling others what it means to be an American and a moral person. Or how we should talk about certain groups of people and who we should communicate with each other.

Ed Murrow and his See it Now team knew exactly what they were up against and that the person that they were up against. And the fact that Senator McCarthy was a member of Congress and could use his power as a Senator to try to punish CBS News and the broader CBS network with their licensing and fines and everything else. And CBS News of course knew this as well which is why they weren’t fully behind Murrow and Fred Friendly. But it believed it was a fight worth taking on for the future of speech and other freedoms that Americans tend to take for granted. And they were very skillful how they took on McCarthy.

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This post was originally posted at The New Democrat on WordPress

The Kennedy’s had just been married by this point in 1953. John Kennedy was about halfway through his first term as a U.S. Senate and already contemplating running for President. And had even considered being Adlai Stephenson’s Vice Presidential nominee in 1956. And this is going to sound hard, but Jack Kennedy was politically smart enough to know that he wasn’t going to get elected President as a bachelor. Especially as a bachelor with a reputation as a playboy. That is where Jackie comes in to make it look like Jack has settled down with one women and ready to start a family. Not saying Jack didn’t love Jackie, but that was not his primary motive for marrying her. He wanted to run for and be elected President in 1960 and the way to do that back then and still today is at the very least be seen as a family man. With a wife and kids and be perceived as loving both.
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Goodnight and Good Luck
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat Plus

If I had to rate Goodnight and Good Luck on a scale of 1-10 with ten being the highest, I would give it a 9-9.5. And I saw the movie again a couple of nights ago in preparation for this blog. The only reason I wouldn’t give it a ten, is because it was a ninety-minute movie about one of the most important times during the Cold War between America and Russia and their allies on both sides. This movie should’ve been at least two-hours if not three and they would’ve been able to cover so many more aspects about the McCarthyism in the 1950s.

If you are familiar with the 1950s in America and the so-called red scare about communism and Communists in America, then you are also familiar with U.S. Senator Joe McCarthy and the Army McCarthy hearings that supposedly investigated supposed Communists inside of the U.S. Government. A complete fishing trip inside of an empty bathtub, because Chairman McCarthy and his team didn’t have much if anything to go on. Other than guilt by association. Senator McCarthy saw this as his ticket to the White House after President Dwight Eisenhower.

Edward R. Murrow the anchor and managing editor of CBS News’s See it Now, the CBS nightly newscast before the CBS Evening News, knew what communism was and who were the actual Communists. Because he covered World War II in Europe. And didn’t believe that Americans who weren’t Communists should be stuck with the label of Communists. And he and Fred Friendly and their team at See it Now, without having the backing of CBS News and the broader CBS network, decided to go after McCarthyism and expose Joe McCarthy for what he was. Which was a political opportunist and a right-wing fascist. Who saw Americans who didn’t look at the world the way he did as Un-American.

Murrow and Friendly expose Joe McCarthy for what he really was by going after him the way any good news organization would. By using the truth against McCarthy. Using his own words and documents against the Senator. And with Murrow doing a nightly editorial after their reporting on the McCarthy hearings about dangerous fascism and guilt by association is. And George Clooney who plays Fred Friendly and David Strathairn who plays Ed Murrow, do a great job of showing who the real Friendly and Murrow and the See it Now crew take down Senator Joe McCarthy.

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1958 NFL Championship
Source: This piece was originally posted at FRS Daily Journal

Was the 1958 NFL Championship game the best game ever played, well if you look at the 5-6 turnovers in that game and both teams getting in the red zone and not scoring and other mistakes like that of course not. The 1967 NFC Championship between the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Back Packers especially if you consider the weather conditions and where the game was played in Green Bay, Wisconsin, was a much better played game.

But the Cowboys and Packers still manages to play very well in that game. Even though it was played under those conditions. And the Hall of Fame head coaches Tom Landry and Vince Lombardi coaching that game and all the Hall of Fame players that played in that game. Cowboys DT Bob Lilly, WR Bob Hayes, CB Mell Renfro. For the Packers QB Bob Starr, OT Forrest Gregg, OG Jerry Kramer, DE Willy Davis, LB Ray Nitchke and others. I believe thats the greatest game ever played as far as the quality of the game.

And that’s different from the most important game ever played. Because the 1958 NFL Championship had more to do with the future of the NFL as well as pro football. It made it easier to form the American Football League because of the attention that the 58 NFL Championship got, because now it was clear that there was room in America for more than twelve Pro football franchises, that were all in the NFL. And the NFL wasn’t looking to expand, but instead consolidate the revenue that it had.

The NFL had just survived the Korean War where it lost players to that war, World War II obviously same thing the Great Depression and somehow survived financially from that and came out better and on top from where it was before. What makes the 1958 NFL Championship and yes it was a very well-played game and even a great game to watch as far as how entertaining it was, was for one it was the most important game ever played. You’re talking about the two best teams in pro football playing for the NFL Championship in New York at Yankee Stadium in front of a live national televised audience, with two great football teams that had great coaching.

For the Baltimore Colts coached by Weeb Ewbank who’s in the Hall of Fame. For the New York Giants, forget about their head coach Jim Lee Howell and (I know with a name like Jim Lee Howell how can you forget that name) but you got Vince Lombardi as the offensive coordinator and Tom Landry as the defensive coordinator. As they say in Brooklyn, forget about it! That’s all you need to know about the Giants coaching staff.

And then you Hall of Famers for the Colts like QB John Unitas the greatest ever, RB Len More, RB Alan Ameche who scored the winning TD in the game, OT Jim Parker maybe the greatest OT of all time. WR Ray Berry one of the greatest possession WR of all time. DE Gino Marchetti maybe the greatest DE of all time, CB Johnny Sample and many others. The 1958 Giants as far as Hall of Famers, on offense RB Frank Gifford, on defense DT Andy Robostelli, DT Rosey Greer, MLB Sam Huff.

These are three of the greatest defenders of all-time and they had the best defense in the NFL as well and scored enough points to win. With Frank Gifford, FB Alex Webster, WR Tobin Rote and QB Charlie Connerly who could both run and pass and do them well. Anytime you get a matchup like that, under those conditions in a championship final on network TV and radio with all the major newspapers covering the game, you got something special, the NFL at this point was a major sports league.

But Major League Baseball was still number one and college football was probably number two as far as team sports. But this game set the stage because of the audience it drew, still one of the highest rated programs and intended games in pro sports history, for the NFL by the early 1970s to be the dominant sports league in America if not the world.

What the 1958 NFL Championship Final did, was set the stage for the NFL and the AFL to become the number one sports league in America because of the teams that played it, the players that played in it, how well they played. And of course the audience it drew, because now America could see how great of a sport pro football was and decided they wanted to see a lot more of it.
NFL: NFL 1958-The Greatest Game Ever Played- 1958 NFL Championship-Baltimore Colts @ New York Giants

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Rear Window
This post was originally posted at The New Democrat

Rear Window might be the best not so believable movie I’ve ever seen. It’s about Jeff (Jimmy Stewart), a photographer in a wheelchair with a broken leg solving a murder, practically. on his own. He gets some help from his girlfriend (Amazing Grace Kelly) and his nurse (Thelma Ritter). It’s not, you know, the most believable plot ever written.

Jeff has a friend (Wendell Corey) who’s a lieutenant in the NYPD. The lieutenant is the only person in the movie who has any real life, detective or police experience. Jeff has a theory about how a supposed murder goes down in the apartment across the courtyard from his. The lieutenant doesn’t believe Jeff’s theory.

The movie takes place in Greenwich Village in the middle of one of those famous humid heat waves they get every summer. Jeff has nothing to do all day but to look out the window, talk to his nurse (Thelma Ritter) when she comes by to check on him, and, of course, hangout with his hot sexy baby-faced girlfriend (Grace Kelly) when she comes by at night.

From his window, Jeff notices some strange things going on in the apartment across the courtyard. A woman who’s sick and confined to her bed is suddenly missing. Her husband (Raymond Burr) does strange things at night. He goes out with a suitcase when it’s raining and comes back shortly thereafter. Jeff thinks there’s something suspicious in the suitcase, like the body parts of the missing wife. He wants his detective friend to look into it.

All the while, Jeff thinks his girlfriend is too perfect for him, his job being very stable. He’s always traveling. He thinks that they would both be better off keeping things as they are. She wants to marry him and that is not a commitment that Jeff wants to make. He just wants to recover from the broken leg and go back to work and have his girlfriend available.

This movie stretches credibility but it is very well written and has a great cast, Jimmy Stewart, Wendell Corey, Grace Kelly, Thelma Ritter, Raymond Burr and others. It has a lot of great humor, especially between the lieutenant and Jeff. The cop sees his friend as an amateur sleuth, at best, and makes fun of him. He’s doing his best to show that Jeff only has a theory and a weak circumstantial case. It becomes a great murder mystery.

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