Wednesday, October 29, 2008
The Honeymoon Killers (1969) is the result of Leonard Kastle's reaction to Bonnie & Clyde. Have you seen pictures of the real Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker? These were not beautiful people. They certainly looked nothing like Warren Beatty or Faye Dunaway. Kastle wanted to craft a crime movie that avoided ties to Hollywood glamour. So he researched one of the most infamous crime cases of the '40s: the "Lonely Hearts" murders.
Martha Beck and Ray Fernandez killed as many as 20 people in a scheme to bilk lonely women out of their savings. Martha and Ray were finally convicted of murder in three cases and sentenced to the electric chair. Martha was overweight and unmarried and destined to remain that way — until she communicated with Ray through a "Friendship Club." After trading letters with him for several weeks, they finally met, and it was love at first sight. She gave up her job as a head nurse at a hospital in order to be Ray's constant companion. But Ray's only source of income was in bilking lonely women out of their savings. So with Martha posing as his sister, Ray continued to ply his trade. Martha even watched as Ray married some of these women so that he could get closer to their bank accounts. But Martha's deep insecurity about her looks and her suspicions about Ray's philandering ways sowed deep conflicts, leading to arguments and eventually murder. In the most carefully documented case, Martha took a hammer and crushed the skull of a Florida woman who had drawn her entire savings out of the bank and accompanied Ray and Martha back to New York. Ray then finished the job by strangling the woman and burying her body in the basement of his house. Ray and Martha went to the electric chair while continuing to profess their love.
Kastle wrote a screenplay based on this story and then went shopping for a director. He found a young Martin Scorsese, who had recently scored with his debut feature film Who's That Knocking At My Door? However, with a total budget of only $250,000, Kastle became concerned as he watched Scorsese spend several hours trying to film a tin can in a bush — "It'll create mood," he told Kastle. Eventually Kastle decided they'd quickly run out of funds with Scorsese as director. So he fired Scorsese (!) and began looking for a replacement. He found no one. With the project poised to founder, stars Tony Lo Bianco and Shirley Stoler urged Kastle to take over the direction, and with no immediate alternative, he did. Never mind he had no directing experience whatsoever. He was a composer. He knew opera. But Kastle had a vision of what he wanted to see on film and he had the determination to see the project through to its completion.
The resulting movie is one of the most astonishing independent films of the past 40 years. It's uncompromising and brutal. It's stark and unsettling. Filmed in documentary-style in black and white, The Honeymoon Killers looks terrifyingly real. You feel guilty while you're watching it, as if you're peeking through a keyhole and seeing things you were never meant to see. True to his intentions, Kastle did not glamorize crime. He created a perverse and ugly love story that fascinates precisely because it's so perverse and ugly. Shirley Stoler soars in this movie. She gives one of the great unselfish, unglamorous performances in cinema history. (Her subsequent roles were few in number. Most people probably know her as "Mrs. Steve" on Pee Wee's Playhouse.) And Tony Lo Biano is excellent as Ray. (Soon after The Honeymoon Killers, he would star in The French Connection and The Seven Ups, and he would star in one of the best TV crime shows of the '70s, Police Story. But since then almost all of his performances have been in supporting roles.)
Stoler and Lo Bianco are surrounded by several fine supporting performances. Doris Roberts (who now stars in Everybody Loves Raymond) plays Martha's friend Bunny (looking very thin!), who urges her friend to begin writing letters to the Friendship Club. Mary Ann Higby plays a woman 30 years Ray's senior. She's so eager to be with Ray that she does whatever Martha and Ray request. And Kip McArdle plays a pleasant but insufferably upbeat middle-aged woman with a young daughter. She marries Ray and even remains upbeat with Martha prowling the halls of her uncluttered suburban home. In one the movie's most chilling scenes, McArdle confesses to Martha that she is now pregnant with Ray's child, hoping for Martha's advice and fearing that Ray won't want the baby: he was terrified that Martha would even find out the marriage had been consummated. We see Martha's face stiffen and we know things will soon get very ugly.
Strangely enough Kastle never made another movie — but not for trying. However, no subsequent projects ever came to fruition. That's our loss because he shows amazing skill in The Honeymoon Killers.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I then spent Saturday shopping for a similar piece with a friend of mine for his child’s room after turning him green with envy showing off my. new purchase.
On Sunday I visited a new antique co-op I’d heard of but never been to, only to find the PERFECTLY sized chest in PERFECT condition marked down to only $200 AND I was fortunate enough to have another friend with a S.U.V. along to cart it home. Thus avoiding delivery charges
Long story short, three days of shopping, two purchases, many phone calls, two deliveries and one swap out later I find that I am now furnishing my friends home as well as my own. I should be getting a commission for this.
Attractive, dark-haired leading man Edson Stroll was born in Chicago in the mid-'30s and arrived in Hollywood just in time for television to have eaten away at most of the opportunities he might otherwise have had. Possessed of a deep voice to go with his good looks, he appeared in Westerns and adventure shows such as Tombstone Territory and Sea Hunt, plus a pair of Twilight Zone episodes, "The Eye of the Beholder" and "The Trade-ins," and the Elvis Presley vehicle G.I. Blues, in an uncredited role. He finally started getting leading parts in films in 1961, but those were in a pair of Three Stooges features, the too-opulent-for-its-own-good Snow White and the Three Stooges (playing Prince Charming) and The Three Stooges in Orbit. From there, his being cast as Gunner's Mate Virgil Edwards in the sitcom McHale's Navy -- playing the resident lothario of Ernest Borgnine's motley crew .
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Today, Cal Bolder is perhaps best known for his role in the campy 1966 horror film "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter". from which the picture above is taken. In the late 1960s, Bolder retired from acting and moved his family to Washington. In 2001, he published a novel, Last "Reunion", under his real name E. C. Craver,
Sadly, Cal Bolder passed away on January 19, 2005, from cancer at age 74.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
GET “IN SHAPE” INSTANTLY AND ENJOY A HAPPY STREAMLINED APPEARANCE
The COMMANDER presents the exclusively designed “INTERLOCKING HANDS” principle for extra support where you need it most. It flattens the burdensome sagging “corporation” and restores to the body the zestful invigorating feeling that comes with firm, sure “bay window” control. Order this new belt today and begin enjoying the pleasure of feeling “in shape” at once.
"The absence of gouging steel ribs, dangling buckles and bothersome laces will prove a joy. COMMANDER has a real man’s jock type pouch. IT GIVES GENUINE MALE PROTECTION. "
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
1911. Washington, D.C. "Football. Georgetown University Game." Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative, Library of Congress
P.S. Yes, it's STILL chicken.
Monday, October 13, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
After some shipping delays, the package getting lost and some mis-communication form Overstock.com’s customer service the package finally came about six weeks late (which seems to be the schedule for the bathroom and basement reconstruction as well!)
My contractor promised me yesterday that my new bathroom would be done today (5 weeks delay) I think I’ll hold on to the nightstand as my current tangible achievement
He’s informed me that two clients have cancelled kitchen renovations due to the economy tanking. I’m only half way though all my work and it’s getting damn scary right all those large checks. If he’s smart he’ll finish the basement and back porch quickly before I have a chance to change my mind.
Thursday, October 9, 2008
Wednesday, October 8, 2008
In my dream I resigned myself to having been so forgetful and accepted the fact that I had spent unnecessary money and I know had three and a half baths. Upon awakening I had to resign myself to the fact that it was all a dream and now I was stuck with a master bath small enough to make me take measurement's in order to bring both a bottle of shampoo AND conditioner into the shower with me! OK, maybe it's not THAT small but Lordy it ain't is big as the one in my dreams.
I can't waist until construction ends and I can go back to dreaming about relationship problems or lack there of......
This song, in particular this version has been running though my head since last night, along the mile walk from campus to my trolley stop, though my morning shower as well and then back along the walk from the trolley stop back to campus.
Not that I mind! I rather like both the song and this version, as well as Ann MIller. I only wish the sentiment were true, we're starting to experience the first nips of autumn weather.
Tuesday, October 7, 2008
The economy tanks, Sara Palin exists and yet my circle is debating the pros and cons of shaving my chest?????
Saturday, October 4, 2008
I think I'd have been better off foregoing the extra cash and sleeping in...
Thursday, October 2, 2008
Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Having just bought a new DVD/VCR combo unit I now know what I am going to christen it with once I locate a copy through inter-library-loan!