Tuesday December 10, 2013
Eleanor Parker, a versatile actress who excelled playing strong-willed women and best known for her role as Baroness Elsa von Schraeder in The Sound of Music, has died at the age of 91.
Parker emerged at 18 years old when she signed a contract with Warner Bros. and made her film debut in Raoul Walsh's They Died With Their Boots On (1941). For the next several years, she would play a variety of minor roles until the studio gave her the chance to shine opposite Paul Henreid as the lowly waitress Mildred Rogers in Of Human Bondage (1946).
But the film was not successful and Parker returned to playing small parts until finally breaking through as an inmate in the gritty prison drama, Caged (1950), which earned the actress her first of three Academy Award nominations for Best Actress.
She followed up that success the following year with her second Oscar nod playing Kirk Douglas' frustrated wife in Detective Story (1951), and starred opposite Robert Taylor in a pair of successful films, Above and Beyond (1952) and Valley of the Kings (1954). Parker also made Escape from Fort Bravo (1953) with William Holden and The Naked Jungle (1954) with Charlton Heston.
Parker earned her third Academy Award nomination tackling her most challenging role, playing opera star Marjorie Lawrence in Interrupted Melody (1955). After starring alongside Frank Sinatra in The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) and Clark Gable in The King and Four Queens (1956), Parker's film career started to wane.
She began transitioning to television in the early 1960s, before returning to the big screen for her most widely recognized performance as the jealous, but ultimately regretful Baroness Elsa von Schraeder in The Sound of Music. But a return to television signaled that her film days were truly over, and she wrapped up her career with episodes of The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Murder, She Wrote.
Parker spent the rest of her life in quiet retirement in Southern California. She died on Dec. 9, 2013 in a medical facility in Palm Springs surrounded by her children.
Publicity still of Eleanor Parker/Unkn0wn
Monday December 9, 2013
Apparently, someone out there wanted it more than Sydney Greenstreet.
Days before Thanksgiving, an unknown buyer plunked down over $4 million to purchase the 45-pound, 12-inch prop from John Huston's noir classic The Maltese Falcon (1941), which was put up for sale by the privately owned British auction house Bonhams.
As everyone knows, the film starred then-character actor Humphrey Bogart as world-weary private eye, Sam Spade, a role that propelled him into Hollywood stardom. What's far less know, however, was that the famed prop was damaged by Lee Patrick, the actress who played Spade's secretary.
According to Bonhams, the Falcon had a bent right tail feather, and scratches on both the head and chest. Previously, the bid was bought by another anonymous owner in the 1980s, and had been on display in Los Angeles, Paris, and New York.
The stuff dreams are made of/Warner Bros.
Saturday November 30, 2013
It's the beginning of the month once again and that means it's time to look back at all the classic movie stars and directors born in the month of December. A few are still with us, but all should be remembered for their contributions to film and for how deeply they touched our lives.
Saturday November 30, 2013
In case you've missed it, Turner Classic Movies, Columbia Pictures, and the Film Foundation joined forces last month to release a five-film box set featuring some off-the-radar titles directed by John Ford.
The set, John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection, contains three films that have never appeared on DVD in the Unites States before. The first is the Depression-era comedy The Whole Town's Talking (1935), starring Jean Arthur and Edward G. Robinson, whose flagging career was revived in part because of the film.
Also never before released on DVD is Gideon's Day (1958), which starred Jack Hawkins as a Scotland Yard inspector contending with crime on the streets and corruption in the precinct, and Two Rode Together (1961), a revisionist Western with touches of gothic horror starring James Stewart and Richard Widmark.
The final two films in the set have been previously released on DVD, but have since gone out of print. They include The Long Gray Line (1955), an inspirational biopic about Irish immigrant Marty Maher starring Tyrone Power and Ford favorite Maureen O'Hara, and The Last Hurrah (1958), starring Spencer Tracy as an aging politician waging his final campaign.
The John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection was released early last October.
DVD cover for 'John Ford: The Columbia Films Collection (2013)/Sony Pictures