Sunday, January 21, 2007


Ronee Blakley in NASHVILLE (1975)* Fantastic performance, among a cast full
Karen Allen in NATIONAL LAMPOON’S ANIMAL HOUSE (1978)* Went into the premiere with an old friend in her first big feature film, came out with that friend a genuine movie star, and deserving it
Elizabeth Taylor in NATIONAL VELVET (1944) Not the first film I saw her in I’m sure, but the first time I fell for her
Randy Newman’s score for THE NATURAL (1984) One of the greatest sports films, for my taste, first time I noticed Randy Newman did the score for a flick, Redford perfectly “natural” as always, not an easy feat for an actor in my book
Dayle Haddon in NORTH DALLAS FORTY (1979)* One of the other greatest sports films, thanks in large part to Nick Nolte, but I remember Haddon as lovely
Everyone in NOTHING BUT A MAN (1964)* Many in the cast wouldn’t make their mark for decades, and some never, but the African-Americans in this film, including jazz singer Abbey Lincoln, bring an intensity and power not seen before on screen
The Rat Pack in OCEAN’S ELEVEN (1960) Not the first time I saw most of them, but first film with all of them in it together, playing their swinging selves
Half the cast of ODD MAN OUT (1947)* and all worth watching
Half the cast of OKALAHOMA! (1955) Especially Gordon MacRae, Shirley Jones, and Rod Steiger, none of whom I remember seeing, or noticing, before—later Jones became a symbol of corniness, but in this she glowed, and what other musical star was more 1950s masculine than MacRae? Plus the dancing is terrific and well shot, to say nothing of Gloria Grahame in yet another memorable role (her last, and least memorable, was in a horrible horror movie with yours truly)
James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart in THE OKLAHOMA KID (1939) Not the first film I saw them in, but the first (and only?) time I saw them playing cowboys, and never forgot Cagney exiting the saloon, putting a hand in the air and rubbing his fingers together, and when someone asks him what he’s doing he says, in his usual New York gangster accent, “Feelin’ the air kid, feelin’ the air”—or at least that’s what I remember
Alan Price in O LUCKY MAN! (1973)* I loved parts of this flick, especially any scene with Price, the keyboardist for The Animals, looking older, tougher, and more substantial than he ever had in the ‘60s, may be my first glimpse of Helen Mirren as well
Everyone in ONE FALSE MOVE (1992)* First time I saw, or noticed, all of them, and all of them were great, especially Billy Bob Thornton and Bill Paxton
Half the cast of ONE FLEW OVER THE CUKCOO’S NEST (1975)* Like Danny De Vito and Brad Dourif, the latter almost stealing the film from Nicholson
Betty Comden-Adolph Green-Leonard Bernstein lyrics and music for ON THE TOWN (1949)* First time I noticed, at seven-years-old, the people who made a musical musical
(the first songwriter I dug at an even younger age was Johnny Mercer, but this movie was when I got the whole musical team idea) and loved every note in it
Eva Marie Saint in ON THE WATERFRONT (1954)* One of my top favorite movies, in which Brando and Karl Malden excel, but so does Saint in her film debut
Everyone in OPEN CITY (1945)* Especially Anna Magnani
Elizabeth McGovern in ORDINARY PEOPLE (1980)* Her film debut, but everyone in it was impressive, though for my taste, the performance that deserved the Oscar was Donald Sutherland’s, one of his most subtle and finely calibrated
Jane Greer in OUT OF THE PAST (1947)* I saw this at age five, and it never left me. Greer is the most appealing “bad girl” ever, and Mitchum and her create one of my all time favorite screen pairings, may be my favorite film noir
Sinatra in PAL JOEY (1957) First time I remember him playing the “swinging Frank”—with Kim Novak and Rita Hayworth among other “broads” to react to, and great Rogers & Hart songs to sing
Claudette Colbert in THE PALM BEACH STORY (1942) Not the first time I noticed her, she seemed to be in half the movies I saw as a kid, but it was in this one, I saw as an adult, that I finally got her appeal
Elizabeth Daily in PEE WEE’S BIG ADVENTURE (1985)* We were in an acting class together (with Nick Cage when he was Nicholas Coppola, and Crispin Glover and other future stars) and I was not only happy for her landing this role, but impressed with how she handled it, she helped make the movie work, and it does work
Christopher Walken in PENNIES FROM HEAVEN (1981) First time I saw him dance, and well, in a very brave movie and brave performance by the star of it, Steve Martin
Mick Jagger in PERFORMANCE (1970)* First time I saw him act, a very trippy movie that I saw stoned and thought was one of the hippest flicks I had ever seen at the time
Humphrey Bogart in THE PETRIFIED FOREST (1936) Not the first time I saw him, I didn’t see this until the 1960s, but as I understand it, he played mostly forgettable rich guys in films previous to this one and had returned to the stage to play Duke Mantee, escaped gangster, in the play this film was adapted from, and when British actor, and big star at the time, Leslie Howard, was hired to do the film with Bette Davis, he said he wouldn’t do it unless Bogart recreated his stage role as Mantee, and then Bogart stole the movie
James Stewart in THE PHILADELPHIA STORY (1940) The film that revived Katherine Hepburn’s career, after she did it as a play and bought the rights to it, and one of the all time great ones, but seeing it later on TV as a kid I got Stewart’s acting chops, I already dug Hepburn’s and Cary Grant’s, which this film only confirmed
Kim Novak in PICNIC (1955)* Not her first film, I guess, but first one I noticed her in and fell in love with her, though Rosalind Russell almost steals the movie as an older, hypocritical, desperately needy woman
Everyone in PIXOTE (1981)* Incredible Brazilian flick, as is everyone in it, especially the kid who plays the lead, a little too graphic for some I tried to turn on to it
Shelley Winters in A PLACE IN THE SUN (1951)* First time I remember seeing her, or noticing her, in what I suspect is her first role as the whiney, nagging, needy woman she would end up doing more than once, but perfectly every time, and probably the film in which Elizabeth Taylor’s beauty seems most stunning
John Malkovich and Danny Glover in PLACES IN THE HEART (1984)* First time I noticed either of them and was knocked out by both their performances
Tom Berenger in PLATOON (1986)* I think Berenger won an Oscar, or at least was nominated for this, though there were several knock out performances in it, including DeFoe’s, but this film made most of us take notice of Berenger as more than a pretty boy, and though I don’t think this was his best, I pretty much have seen everything he’s done since, no matter how bad the film, because I think the guy is one of our finest screen actors
Robin Wright in THE PRINCESS BRIDE (1987)* Not only beautiful, but a great actor, and in a film full of terrific performances—Mandy Patinkin and Cary Elwes and Christopher Guest and everyone in it—great fun film
William Hickey in PRIZZI’S HONOR (1985) Everyone in it was great, and it wasn’t the first time I saw Hickey, who was an acting teacher in New York when I started acting professionally late in life (39), but this was the first time I noticed him and what he brought to his role as the old white-haired don asking Angelica Huston if she wanted a cookie as though he were narrating an episode of THE MUPPETS but making it work!
My poetry in PUMP UP THE VOLUME (1990) Not the first time I heard my words in a film, but the first time lines from a poem of mine were used, as part of the climactic speech Christian Slater’s character makes from the back of the jeep, and in a film I like

Another break in another compulsive list

No comments: