An Apple a Day...Back

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  • April, 14: US-American actress Vera Miles (* 1929) (Psycho, The Man who Shot Liberty Valance, The Searchers) is still alive!
  • April, 15: The great Laurence Olivier (1907-1989) has 'won' two Razzie Awards. One for The Jazz Singer (1980) and one for Inchon (1981)
  • April, 16: Again Laurence Olivier (1907-1989): In 1985, he forgot to announce the 'Best Picture' nominees and immediately revealed the winner.
  • April, 17: German director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau (1888-1931) who has made films like Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927), Nosferatu (1922) and Der letzte Mann/ The Last Laugh (1924) stood pretty tall, at almost 7 feet!
  • April, 18: Actress Jamie Lee Curtis (* 1958) won a Golden Globe for her performance in James Cameron's (* 1954) True Lies (1994) in the category "Best Actress in a Leading Role/Musical or Comedy.
  • April, 19: Director Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999) died on March 07 1999, exactly 666 days before 01 Jaunary 2001 (01/01/01).
  • April, 21: One of director Sergio Leone's (1929-1989) projects was to make a remake of Gone with the Wind (1939).
  • April, 22: Sergio Leone (1929-1989) again: He was offered by the studios to direct The Godfather (1972), but he turned this offer down, as he preferred to do a gangster film on his own.
  • April, 24: Actor Anthony Quinn (1915-2001) had to shave his hair for his role in The Magus (1968). He had accepted the part with an insurance policy in case it might not grow back.
  • April, 25: To get the right sound effects for the fights in Martin Scorsese's (* 1942) masterpiece Raging Bull (1980), sound effect supervisor Frank Warner mixed the sounds produced by shots (of a rifle) and bursting melons. After the film, he destroyed the whole recording, as he did not want anyone else to get this material.
  • April, 26: For those who are already in the Batman-fever: Bob Kane (1915-1998) invented the comic figure Batman in 1939 as a combination of Zorro, The Shadow and Dracula!
  • April, 27: In 1979, the big Oscar-race was between Coming Home (1978) and The Deer Hunter (1978). Jane Fonda (* 1937), clearly against the involvement of the United States in Vietnam, accused director Michael Cimino (* 1939) of having made a racist and pro-American film.
  • April, 28: Director Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) who was generally known as a very patient and peaceful person (and who died 25 years ago, 29 April) got only once very angry on a film set: While making Marnie (1964), leading actress Tippi Hedren (* 1931) said that he was fat. From then on they only communicated with each other via a third person!
  • April, 30: Originally Martin Scorsese (* 1942) owned the rights for Schindler's List (1993) and Steven Spielberg (* 1946) those for Cape Fear (1991). But later they switched, as Scorsese thought Spielberg would make the better job. Eventually Scorsese said in an interview: "If I had directed Schindler's List it wouldn't have won any awards."
  • May, 1: In The Gold Rush (1925), Charles Chaplin (1889-1977) alias The Tramp eats one of his shoes to be able to survive. In reality, this was, of course, not a real shoe, but an imitation made of liquorice.
  • May, 5: There are some nice anecdotes about Marlon Brando's (1924-2004) behaviour during the production of his last film The Score (2001): Brando did not want to act unless Frank Oz (* 1944) directed him in the voice of Miss Piggy. However during the whole shooting he called him Fozzie (the bear from the Muppets Show). Because of the warm weather, Brando preferred running around naked, and during several scenes in the film he refused to wear trousers.
  • May, 6: SPECIAL THANKS TO BUDDY: The great Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest and lost!
  • May, 8: Hal Ashby's (1929-1988)father committed suicide, when Ashby was very young. Those who have seen Ashby's Harold and Maude (1971) will know why this is interesting to know.
  • May, 9: On September 23, 1955: One week before James Dean's (1931-1955) tragic death in a road accident, Dean showed his Porsche Spider to actor Alec Guinness (1914-2000) who didn't like the car at all. He said that Dean would die in that car in exactly one week. Jimmy Dean of course didn't believe him, but that is what happened one week later. Strange, eh?
  • May, 10: The name of Christopher Lee's (* 1922) Star Wars-character Count Dooku is Japanese and means "poison".
  • May, 11: One of William Holden's (1918-1981) ancestors on the maternal side was George Washington (1732-1799).
  • May, 13: Screenplay writer Paul Schrader (* 1946) ("Taxi Driver (1976)) hates Raging Bull (1980), a film he has written himself. So does camera man Michael Chapman (* 1935).
  • May, 23: For many days no apples, therefore now many. About John Carpenter's (* 1948) Halloween (1978):
  • 1. Donald Pleasence's (1919-1995) character Sam Loomis is taken from the genre classic Psycho (1960), where Loomis was played by John Gavin (* 1928).
  • 2. The character of Marion Chambers is inspired by Janet Leigh's (1927-2004) Psycho-character MARION Crane and by the sheriff CHAMBERS. (Note: Janet Leigh was Jamie Lee Curtis' (* 1958) mother.)
  • 3. The character of Tommy Doyle is taken from Rear Window (1954).
  • 4. Laurie Strode is named after John Carpenter's first girlfriend.
  • 5. The film takes place in Haddonfield, Illinois, a fictional town. Screenplay writer Debra Hill (1950-2005) grew up in Haddonfield, NJ.
  • 6. In Laurie's bedroom, there is a poster of a painting by James Ensor (1860-1949), a Belgin painter who often portrayed people wearing grotesque masks.
  • 7. Michael Myers is named after the European distributor of Carpenter's previous movie Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)."
  • 8. Sheriff Leigh Brackett is named after the screenplay writer (1915-1978), who died in the spring of 1978, when Halloween was shot. Brackett wrote f.ex. the screenplay for Rio Bravo (1959), the main inspiration for Assault on Precinct 13 (1976).
  • 9. The character of Michael Myers is inspired by Yul Brynner's (1915-1985) character from Westworld (1973).
  • 10. The song Laurie and Annie listen to in the car is called Don't Fear the Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult.
  • 11. The credited orchestra for the Halloween theme, The Bowling Green Philharmonic, is fictional. The theme was composed by Carpenter and some of his friends.
  • 12. Halloween was made for only $ 300'000 (and later became the most successful independent film ever). There was no money left for costumes, and therefore the actors had to wear their own clothes.
  • 13. The film the children are watching on TV is The Thing From Another World (1951), which Carpenter remade 4 yours later.
  • 14. Christopher Lee (* 1922) and Peter Cushing (1913-1994) were offered the part of Sam Loomis, but they both turned it down. Lee still regrets this decision.
  • May, 24: Christopher Lee (* 1922) was also offered the part of Dr. Rumack in Airplane! (1980). He turned it down. Leslie Nielsen (* 1926) later got the role.
  • May, 25: Vader is Dutch and means "father". (Am I the only one who didn't know that?)
  • June, 2: Mulholland Dr. was originally written to become the pilot for a TV series, but ABC thought it was too weird.
  • June, 6: The only Academy Award director Hal Ashby (1929-1988) ever got, was in recognition of his work as an editor for In the Heat of the Night (1967).
  • June, 11: Orson Welles (1915-1985) said (in the early 60s) about Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980): "Years from now, people will not care for his work."
  • June, 25: Director Luis Buñuel (1900-1983) enjoyed dressing as a nun.
  • July, 2: Ran (1985) is Japanese and means "chaos".
  • November, 24: John Wayne's (1907-1979) favourite movie was A Man for All Seasons (1966).
  • November, 25: In movies, the word 'shit' was first used in 1967 in In Cold Blood.
  • December, 7: Diane Keaton's (* 1946) real name is Diane "Annie" Hall!
  • January, 11: How cruel. Grandma Duck died in 1970. (Ok, not really film-related, but still)
  • February, 22: In 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), HAL stands for Heuristic ALgorithmic Computer. When you increment each of these three letters, you get IBM. And even though Arthur C. Clarke (* 1917) claims that this was not intended, HAL 9000 sings before being shut down "Daisy Bell" which was the first song to be sung by a computer, an IBM 7094 in 1961. The lyrics also include the sentence "I'm half crazy".
Author Comments: 

I've found out that, every day, I learn at least one film-related thing (by reading on the Internet, in newspapers, seeing on TV, etc.). That is why I decided to make up such a list.
But every day I only put into this ONE thing, the most interesting one.

This could turn out very interesting. Favoritized. Keep it up!

Great idea: now I can learn something about movies everyday without having to leave listology;)

I love the Olivier facts. I've never seen either The Jazz Singer or Inchon, so I don't know how bad he really was in these roles. Is it possible for him to be this bad?

Johnny Waco (who will be checking in...)

Thanks for your post, Johnny.

Frankly I can't imagine Laurence Olivier in a bad role. I'd even consider him as one of the 10 best actors ever. But I haven't seen any of the 2 mentioned film either.

Sth. else that shocked me, was that The Shining was nominated for two Razzie Awards: Worst Supporting Actress Shelley Duvall and...(be prepared) Worst Director Stanley Kubrick!!!

The Shining!? That, I strongly believe, is a travesty on the part of the Razzies. And they are usually so dead on (at least from the last few years when I've seen who they've given the awards to). Gigli, Glitter, Battlefield Earth, The Shining: which of these is not like the others?

I am going to have to jump over to AllMovie or IMDB later and check out the two Olivier roles.

Johnny Waco

I agree with what you say about the Razzies.

Oh and thanks for the great address (AllMovie), which, you won't believe it, I didn't yet know.

I'm glad you like AllMovie; I love that site almost as much as I do listology;)

I looked up Inchon, and, boy, it does look bad. Olivier plays Gen. Douglas MacArthur, complete with his pipe. The film was produced apparently by the Rev. Moon of Korea. No wonder it's not on DVD...

In The Jazz Singer, Olivier plays Neil Diamond's father, a Jewish cantor. Maybe not the best role, but I have to give Olivier some leeway since he was working with Neil Diamond, for pete's sake.

Johnny Waco

Thx for the information and the interest.

Olivier as General MacArthur? Hmmm...well, well, OK. I'll avoid this film, as I don't want to spoil my great opinion about Laurence Olivier.

As for The Jazz Singer, I'll avoid that film, too. The original is horrible enough.

I'd looove to have seen Leone's Gone with the Wind! His version might actually be worth sitting through four hours...

Johnny Waco

Yeah, considering the greatness of Once Upon a Time in America, I think he'd have been the right man to do such a remake. But unfortunately we'll never see this film.

i have to contest the accuracy of your last entry... it is true he turned down the godfather, but i would like to know where you read he regretted it... i've read christopher fraylings biography on him a few times and it suggests that the reason he turned it down was for two reasons... being italian he didn't have any interest in making a film about cliche-ridden italian gangsters... and for the last 5 years or so he had been trying to get his jewish gangster epic(THE movie he most wanted to make in his career) off the ground and he would try for another decade... the only thing i read that he regretted, was that, years later he jokingly implied that if he had made it maybe he'd be able to get the money OUATIA, but i think it's very unlikely that he regretted making a movie he downright disliked, specially since he eventually was allowed to make his dream film 10 years later.

I found the information here (point 15). I don't know who has written this, but I'd also judge a biography as more accurate. Thx!

yeah... i'm not really saying it's wrong... he very well may have regretted not making a successful movie... but there is no way he regretted making OUATIA instead, it was the one movie he cared about making most... or thats what i gather from reading about his battle to get it made...

also, there is no way that the "remake" of gone with the wind was his "greatest dream"... in fact he never did or tried to do more than write a script... in fact most of his post-OUATIA years were dedicated to getting a WWII movie done, not that even though there was already a script and two actors, so it makes it hard to believe it was his greatest dream... really not much more than a thought.

This sounds pretty interesting. What's the title of that biography? If I ever have the chance to get my hands on it, I'll try it out, that means if it is a good read.

it's called "Sergio Leone: something to do with death" and it goes film by film and gets every little detail tying to leone with bio stuff before and after... it's a good 800 pages though, and the pages are of pretty big size... but it's a great reference and will change the way you look at his films.

and nice changes... much more accurate... sorry for being a pest... haha

Hehe, from now on I'll be careful with Leone.

Oh, and thanks for the information.

i'm glad to help or destroy... whichever.

great interesting insight on the raging bull sound effects... i always thought they were great and oddly different.

also he did write this "remake" to gone with the wind... the actual script does exist... and it was described as the good the bad and the ugly meets gone with the wind, by leone himself... it was called something like "only where mary knows" it was written for richard gere and micky rourke in the late 80's about 2 guys during the civil war both fighting for a woman's love and the gold that she happen to knows where it's buried... but you are right, he did describe at sort of his version of gone with the wind.

there... i turned you're two apples into about a dozen...haha

My dear! a PRO-AMERICAN film! those dirty bastards!

Gonna watch The Deer Hunter very soon (perhaps even tonight). I'd like to know what Jane said at the Oscars. Sth. like "Shame on you, Mr. Cimino! Shame on you!"?

i haven't seen it in a long while, but what hollywood hates for being pro-american usually isn't that pro-american... like red dawn

what did you think... as far as being pro-american?

Sorry, but have not yet had the time to watch it. But I'll let you know as soon as this is done.

Now I have seen it! I don't think it is pro-american, although I still can see what Jane Fonda probably meant. To tell this story from the POV of Americans and to show their enemies in an entirely negative way was of course a bit risky, but I'd rather say that Cimino wanted to show the horror of war and that he managed quite well (but not greatly).

Regarding the May 5 entry, I heard that Brando did indeed skip out on wearing pants for many shots, but I also heard that he was concerned with the camera revealing his weight. He had made Oz promise not to film him from around the waist down, and he simply guessed that not wearing pants would ensure the director complied with his wishes and keep the film's frame up a little high.

Which is a bit clever, in a way... :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ah ah, there are indeed many anecdotes about The Score.

How can you not love Brando?

Johnny Waco

He may be clever, but I'm not loving him much picturing him pantsless. *Shudder*

LOL, ROTFLMAO, coughing, sneezing, and wheezing!

I don't know. It just struck me funny.

Regarding the May 1st entry - I didn't know that about the shoe Chaplin ate. Although I guess if I had given it any thought, I would have realized he was probably not eating a real shoe! I wrote a term paper on Chaplin's comedy, and the funniest thing I came across was that he once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-a-like contest - and lost!

Haha, thx, you just gave me a possible entry for May 6th!

I hate to pick nits, but Buber is another poster on this board; my handle's Buddy.

Oops, sorry Buber...eh...Buddy. :-)

posted by 1988 ...eh...1922

Heh, no problem. Probably wouldn't happen if I hadn't picked such a generic screen name. These days I usually go by Susie Derkins, but I've kept Buddy here since I was posting on these boards under that name since way back when.

Oh, and thanks for the info about Harold and Maude - interesting that he can treat it with such comedy. I loved that film!

Harold and Maude is indeed a great film, but unfortunately the only one I have seen by Ashby.

I might also mention that Leigh Brackett was probably even better known for her novels than for her screenplays.

Again, great fact!

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

IMDb credits her as a man, and in the trivia section is mentioned that, in the early 40s, her fans thought that she was a man, due to her first name.

I don't know if that is her true first name or not, but due to publisher fears that science fiction fans of the 40s, 50s, and 60s wouldn't cotton to a female writer, it was pretty common for women to write using ambiguous first names that made fans assume they were male. The recently-deceased Andre Norton is another excellent example of this.

But imdb should certainly know better... :)

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Ah well. Have you read any books by Brackett you would recommend?

Unfortunately, no, but my father has, and I will quiz him when I see him this weekend.

Shalom, y'all!

L. Bangs

Thanks. Unfortunately American literature (unless it is very classic) does not very often reach us here in Luxembourg (even though copies are often available in libraries).

it's funny how great directors are the ones with the most enemies among screenwriters and photographers... it doesn't surprise me that they hate raging bull in other words, specially since scorsese has a history of being despised by his screenwriters.

I think Schrader and Chapman should be grateful for appearing in the credits of such a great movie.

I think you've been raiding my term paper collection! Right after writing about Charlie Chaplin, I did a paper on Halloween, Friday the 13th, and Nightmare on Elm Street. And yet, every single one of the facts you've pointed out about Halloween I was unaware of. Unfortunately, I don't have anything to add about any of these films, as my paper was largely about about the films as a sociological phenomenon - so no fascinating tidbits.

Hah, interesting, interesting.

BTW, which of these three is your favourite film? (I go with Halloween, but I have to admit that I have never seen Friday the 13th, not even one of its sequels.)

I think Nightmare was the most entertaining, but Halloween was most certainly the most important. It created and codified all the rules about slasher flicks to follow, not to mention setting out many of the techniques that became de rigeur for the genre. Friday the 13th was a bit meh, though I was genuinely shocked to discover Jason wasn't even in it. I haven't seen any of the Friday the 13th sequels either.

Thx for this. A Nightmare on Elm Street is indeed entertaining.

Man, Christopher Lee as Dr. Loomis! I'm not sure he would have been better, but Loomis surely would have been very different...

Johnny Waco

Yup, agreed. Too bad, he turned it down, even though I can live very well with Pleasence as Loomis.