Unless you have been living under a tadpole you will know that one of the last surviving Hollywood movie stars Kirk Douglas has just reached his 100th birthday and that the celebrations have been glorious.
Douglas seemed to specialise in anti-hero figures long before it became fashionable to do so. Ace in the Hole, the Bad and the Beautiful and the Detective showed that he was not afraid to explore people who were very damaged, but also very skilled at spreading huge swathes of that damage to others, through acts of cruelty, manipulation, cynicism and self-loathing. That usually meant that any character in his way was going to have a really, really, really bad time. It also meant that audiences never knew whether to love him or loathe him, but they all wanted to watch him.
He did play actual heroes from time to time-but unlike some of his competitors he could never find it in him to play them straight. This short homage to the great KD, is about his great sword and scandal epic Spartacus. Made fun of today because of its high levels of sentimentality, this film was not just about heaving chests in skimpy ancient togas who cried "I'm Spartacus". This was Douglas (with the considerable help of Stanley Kubrick and Douglas Trumbo) telling us at the peak of his creative powers where America, the UK, France and the rest of the West was at. Listen to the latest episode of Classic Hollywood MTC and learn about Spartacus the KD Way.
The music used in this episode is called "Memories" and can be found on Bensound.com.
At 100 years of age Olivia De Havilland is one of the last great movie stars of the Golden Age of Hollywood. At the peak of her film career she appeared in some of the best films ever made, including Captain Blood, Robin Hood, They Died with their Boots On and the Charge of the Light Brigade with the devilishly handsome Errol Flynn and Gone with the Wind with Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh and Hattie McDaniel.
Not just a pretty face and risking her hard earned career she fought and won one of the most powerful Hollywood studios in a legal battle which resulted in the creation of the De Havilland law. A law that is still used today by actors and entertainers against unscrupulous agents, managers and corporate demi-gods. Her victory also allowed her to make even better films and in doing so become one of the most respected actresses of her generation winning 2 best actress Oscars.
Enjoy hearing about the eventful life and career of Olivia De Havilland who is "still on this side of heaven".
If you've enjoyed what you've heard do not forget to post a positive review and tell your friends about Classic Hollywood MTC. If you have any suggestions about movie stars of the classic era you would like CHMTC to cover drop Mrs TC an email on firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a good day!
Sammy Davis Junior was one of the greatest light entertainers America ever produced.
Singer, dancer, actor and impersonator he could do anything that the entertainment world could throw at him to the highest standard.
During a show business career of 60 years he experienced unimaginable success on the night club circuits of New York and La Vegas, having done the rounds of Vaudeville during his early years.
He made many notable Film, TV and Broadway appearances, reaching the peek of his fame as a member of the powerful Rat Pack led by one of his best friends Frank Sinatra.
But he was a scarred man, who throughout his life was deeply affected on a physical and emotional level by racial segregation and several high profile rejections. Although this fuelled his need for success it also fuelled his many weaknesses and excesses, which ultimately led to the decimation of his estate.
Enjoy this new episode of Classic Hollywood MTC on the rise and fall of the late, great Sammy Davis Junior and all who sailed with him.
In the 1950s Doris Day was one of the most famous women in the world. Unfairly remembered as the actress who played professional virgins, Doris's talent was such that she was able to tackle a broad range of movie roles, including classic appearances in Calamity Jane, the Man Who Knew To Much and Pillow Talk.
By the early 1960s with the coming of the Beatles and flower power her stardom was on the wane. Wanting to go out on top Doris was looking forward to a peaceful retirement. But instead her husband succumbed to heart failure leaving her with a financial legacy which was to result in one of the biggest courts cases in Californian history.
Please listen to another true tale about a Classic Hollywood movie star by Simone Higgins also known to family and friends as Mrs Tom Cruise.
In the 1950's Jeff Chandler was one of the biggest film stars created by Universal Studios.
His good looks, tanned complexion, melodic voice and silver hair made him the perfect hero for a wide variety of Universal adventure movies, including one of his most famous parts the Native American chief Cochise in Broken Arrow, a film which captured the heart of America.
A civil rights advocate, supporter of the state of Israel and ladies man, despite his active career and success Jeff is one of the least remembered of Universal's stars. Yet his life and career was as dramatic, successful and crammed full of incident as his movies.
This second episode of Classic Hollywood MTC by Simone Higgins also known as Mrs Tom Cruise explains the life, career and posthumous reputation of the late great Jeff Chandler, a man who found it difficult to be dull.
This is the first of a series of podcasts (delivered by Mrs Tom Cruise the nick name given by family and friends to Simone Higgins) on Hollywood stars and other ad hoc Classic Hollywood subjects which emerged during the peak of the big film studio era of the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
The first subject is the late, great and tragic Dorothy Dandridge. For a short period in the 1950s Dorothy Dandridge an Africa-American singer, dancer and actress sometimes referred to as the 'Black Marilyn Monroe' reached a level of mainstream Night Club, Film and TV success that was unheard of for black entertainer.
The star of Otto Preminger's Carmen and Porgy and Bess was the first black performer to become a bona fide studio film star. The peaks and troughs of her shortlived personal and professional life were as dramatic as many of the movies she made.
Enjoy the story of Dorothy Dandridge as told by Mrs Tom Cruise.