Clytie’s Recommended Entertainment Articles (January 31-February 6, 2020)

Greetings, dearies? Are you looking forward to the Academy Awards? Or do you not watch? Or are you like me and don’t get in ABC? Anyways, on with the articles….

On the 3rd, Scott Feinberg and Scott Johnson of The Hollywood Reporter, investigated what happened to actress Catherine Burns:
“Fifty years ago, her searing supporting role in ‘Last  Summer’ led to critical acclaim and Academy recognition, but the actress soon disappeared from Hollywood, leaving her fans and showbiz admirers searching for answers. The Hollywood Reporter attempts to solve one of Oscar’s great mysteries.”

Also on the 3rd, Mark Blankenship looked at foreign language films nominated for the Best Original Screenplay Oscar, for Vulture:
“It would be an unprecedented delight if, come Oscar Sunday, Parasite bested its Best Picture competition and became the first foreign-language film to triumph in the category. Its chances of doing so are fodder for a different article, however. Here, I’d like to entertain a similarly historic possibility: Parasite’s odds of conquering the Best Original Screenplay field.”

Our old buddy Charles Bramesco looked at La Dolce Vita on its 60th anniversary, on the 5th, over at The Guardian:
“The passage of time has double-underscored the disconnect between the alluring sleekness of Italian high society and its gauche equivalent in the States, where all money is new money. Fellini dazzled with visions of indulgence so intoxicating that they could conceal the moral rot festering within, but our one-percenters could never quite get the hang of that, and they’ve only gotten worse. At this point, it’s nearly nostalgic to revisit a time when being rich was so damn tasteful.”

Also on the 5th, Alex McLevy talked about 10 years of the propaganda of Undercover Boss, for the AV Club:
“And what makes Undercover Boss so sinister it how effective this propaganda is. Over the course of a half-dozen episodes chosen at random, I found myself with tears in my eyes. Every. Single. Time. I burst into tears when O’Donnell watched with pride as his employee was embraced by a lonely local neighbor. I choked back waterworks when Bellah enveloped the young woman with Nestlé franchising dreams, telling her she was giving her $170,000 toward her very own Toll House location. As the two bonded, crying and expressing mutual admiration, the potency of the moment is undeniable. Bellah sincerely believes what she and the show are peddling. It wouldn’t work if she didn’t. Sheldon Yellen said it best: These millionaires genuinely think they’re out here making human connections, improving the world via their selfless acts of generosity. God forbid they introduce a profit-sharing program, or more vacation time, or do anything to imply the race-to-the-bottom ideology of rapacious corporate capitalism needs an overhaul.”

Todd Stockman paid tribute to the great Dyanne Thorne, for We Are Move Geeks, also on the 5th:
“With her bleached blonde hair, piercing eyes, evil scowl and Marlene Dietrich accent, Thorne made Ilsa a frightening, cruel and ferocious villainess as well as an icon for fans of films depicting bondage and domination (recurring themes in the Ilsa series). Despite its infamous reputation as tasteless debased schlock, ILSA, SHE-WOLF OF THE SS is actually very well-made entertainment, grim and compelling and, though rated X (rare for a non-porn film in 1975), it was a grindhouse and drive-in hit. Released by Cinepix Productions it was influential as well, setting the standard for the whole Nazisploitiation sub-genre of the late ‘70s, knockoffs (mostly Italian) such as SS HELL CAMP and LAST ORGY OF THE THIRD REICH that sexualized the holocaust.”

Also on the 5th, Olivia Rutigliano of Crime Reads, tried to track down stolen Oscars:
“The legend is somewhat common knowledge among film buffs, and, for the last two decades or so, has been retold in books about odd moments in film history and in listicles during Oscars season. It concerns the actress Alice Brady, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress during the 1937 awards (which were held in March of 1938) after her role in the film In Old Chicago. She was unable to attend the ceremony (bedridden with a broken ankle), and when she was named the winner, a man walked onstage to accept the award on her behalf. Only after Ms. Brady contacted the Academy, a few days later, asking how she should go about obtaining the Oscar she had learned she won, did the Academy appear to realize a con had taken place. But it was too late: there was no trace of the impostor who had accepted the trophy in front of so many people. In fact, his identity was never discovered, and the Oscar was never found.”

Caroline A. Miranda discussed how Parasite uses architecture, for The Los Angeles Times, on the 6th:
“If the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences were to grant an Oscar for architecture as a character in a movie, the Minimalist manse inhabited by the well-to-do Park family in Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” would certainly be the lead contender. The home, which in the film is designed by a fictional starchitect named Namgoong Hyeonja, hits all the markers for tasteful displays of wealth, from the Minimalist furnishings to the Minimalist soaking tub — a desire for less-is-more that applies to everything except scale.”

Finally, Mike X. Nichols of Film School Rejects, revisited Bringing Out the Dead, also on the 6th:
“The 1999 film was directed by Martin Scorsese, written by Paul Schrader based upon a book by Joe Connelly that was inspired by his experiences as a paramedic, edited by the inimitable Thelma Schoonmaker, and featured the cinematography of Robert Richardson. That’s a damn fine ensemble of talent—all of whom worked together on Taxi Driver. And yet with more than 20 years since the movie’s premiere, Bringing Out the Dead appears largely underappreciated in Scorsese‘s oeuvre compared to Taxi Driver. The two share similarities, but are fundamentally different stories. Taxi Driver follows the disturbed loner Travis Bickle (Robert De Niro) and ultimately ends with the damnation of his soul, whereas Bringing Out the Dead follows the burnt-out paramedic Frank Pierce (Nicolas Cage) and ends with the salvation of his soul.”