Saturday, November 26, 2011

Time Travel

A big reason why I love classic films is because they are so easy to escape in.  Most new films just annoy me or make me want my time back, but films from the 30s, 40s, and 50s just do something special for me that new movies can't.  I also love them because everything is in such sharp contrast to how they are now, no cell phones, no TVs, everyone works, people seem more humane, they have manners, I often find myself a little sad after watching a Fred and Ginger or Cary Grant flick because I feel like I missed out on something great.

I saw the Twilight Zone episode the other day with Buster Keaton where he's a janitor for a scientist in 1890 who has just invented a time travelling helmet, and Keaton sends himself to 1960.  He's terrified by the fast pace, the high prices, and he meets a man that helps him figure out how to go back, and the man wants to go too, thinking it would be so peaceful, he could invent something, slow down a little, but when he gets there he really misses his electric blanket and down pillows.

I wonder if I'd go crazy if there really was a way to go back, no more internet, no smart phone... but taxes were lower, the government was a more reasonable size and less intrusive, corporations hadn't consolidated and monopolized the country, I think it might be fair trade.  Im sure there's a huge downside and it was Hollywood's job to sugar coat and distract from reality, but maybe I could relearn the social skills social networking has ironically ruined . . .

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Natalie Wood Drowning Re-opened

"We didn't necessarily really lie. We just didn't tell everything, and it was agreed that what we spoke about between the three of us is what we're going to tell the investigators," Davern (The Splendour's captain the night of Wood's drowning) said.

On the night of Nov. 29, 1981, Wood and her then-husband Robert Wagner went boating with Christopher Walken. The trio had dinner and drinks at Doug's Harbor Reef and then continued drinking aboard the boat, where Wagner and Walken began arguing.  Thats where the stories split ways. My whole life people around me have always assumed Wagner did it and got away with it.  Maybe with this "new information" there will finally be a definitive answer on what happened to Natalie Wood.

Walken's Theory, from a 1997 interview in Playboy Magazine:
“What happened that night only she knows, because she was alone,” he said. “She had gone to bed before us, and her room was at the back. A dinghy was bouncing against the side of the boat, and I think she went out to move it. There was a ski ramp that was partially in the water. It was slippery – I had walked on it myself. She had told me she couldn’t swim; in fact, they had to cut a swimming scene from [Brainstorm]. She was probably half asleep, and she was wearing a coat.”

What Davern says in a recent NBC interview:
"Like I said, that's going to be up to the investigators to decide," he said. Davern alleged that Wagner purposefully kept the investigation of her death low-profile and did not do everything he could to find Wood once she went missing.
Gregory then pushed the point, asking, "Was he [Wagner] responsible for her death in some way?"
"Well, like I said, I think we all made mistakes that night and --," Davern responded.
"Mr. Davern, that wasn't my question. Was he responsible for her death? I'm not asking about your story," said Gregory.
According to Davern it was Wood and Wagner arguing into the night, not Wagner and Walken.
"Yes, I would say so. Yes," Davern said.

The main areas of focus according to various reports are that analysis of her clothing could prove she was alive for several hours in the water, while Wagner stalled an investigation and told Davern not to turn on search lights or call the coast guard.  An accident with Wagner just wanting to protect his image? Or murder?  Maybe we'll know soon.


Wednesday, November 16, 2011

How did Thomas Ince Die?

In 1924 the media magnate William Randolph Hearst – one of the richest and most powerful men in America – hosted a glittering cruise on his luxury yacht off the coast of southern California.


On this trip film producer Thomas Ince was celebrating his 42nd birthday on board Hearst’s yacht. Marion Davies, Charlie Chaplin, columnist Louella Parsons, author Elinor Glyn and a few young up-and-coming actresses were among the guests. As the party continued through the night and alcohol was flowing, rumor has it that Hearst had suspected Davies of having an affair with one of the men on board. It was not until he caught Davies with Chaplin in one of the rooms, that Hearst’s jealousy threw him into a violent rage. When Hearst aimed to kill Chaplin with one of his guns, Ince may have been the one caught in the crossfire and took a bullet. Thus ending Ince's life.

After Ince’s death, the first headlines in the papers to appear read "Movie Producer Shot on Hearst's Yacht", but quickly vanished.  Then there was a story that Ince had fallen ill on Hearst's ranch, but later it was proven they were never there. Then Hearst’s newspapers reported that Ince had left the yacht complaining of bad indigestion and later died in his wive’s arms by a heart attack upset by said indigestion. Could have there been intimidation from Hearst’s power over the published word and the ability to cut down a person’s reputation with his papers if the truth got out? Or did Ince really die of a heart attack? D.W. Griffith, once stated, “All you have to do to make Hearst turn white as a ghost is mention Ince’s name. There’s plenty wrong there, but Hearst is too big to touch.”
Hearst and Davies
Ince was immediately creamated, his widow was given a large sum of money by Hearst and left the country, the others were given high salaried jobs at some of Hearst's companies.  Foul play? A theory duly emerged that Hearst himself had shot the dead man. According to this version of events – dramatised in the film The Cat’s Meow starring Kirsten Dunst and Eddie Izzard – the jealous tycoon had mistaken Ince for Chaplin, who had been sleeping with Davies.
Hearst’s biographer believes the real reason for the cover-up was the vast amount of drinking and drug use.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Seena Owen

Its also Louise Brooks and Veronica Lake's birthday today, but i figured plenty of people would bring them up and I'm trying to expand my knowledge of silent stars, so here is another beautiful talented starlet that you don't hear about anymore.

Born Nov 14, 1894 in Spokane, Seena pursued a job as a film extra after her family's business went under.  Starting in San Fransisco and then moving to Hollywood around 1913, an old friend from Spokane got her hired on at Kalem Company, an early studio that had recently relocated to the west coast.

Most famously known for her role in 1916's "Intolerance",  Owen was on regular rotation during the early silent years starring in movies such as "Victory" with Lon Chaney Sr and 'Queen Kelly" with Gloria Swanson.

Seena was on Heart's yacht the weekend (that incidentally took place tomorrow in 1924)Thomas Ince might have been shot by Hearst, a juicy Hollywood mystery that I'm going to write about in a day or two. Unfortunately Owen didn't have the chops to make it in talking pictures and retired from the silver screen in the early 1930's. Owen spent the rest of her years screenwriting with her sister and died in 1966 in Hollywood, Ca.