Review: Les Misérables: Movie musical might be called Les Miss! No stars!

For his adaptation of the kitsch-fest known as Les Miz, Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) bets heavily on his cast, and loses big. His musical strategy is to have the singing done live on set, and to have the camera bore in on the actors, especially during solos. The singing does indeed have immediacy, and the close-ups give the audience ... Read More »

SOCIAL HISTORY: THE JAZZ AGE – NEW YORK’S CAFE DE PAREE and EARL CARROLL THEATRE – SOCIAL HISTORY

Earl Carroll review in the 1920s. In December 1934, the refurbished Earl Carroll Theatre located on the south-east corner of 7th Ave and 50th Street, New York City, opened as the French Casino. This glittering supper club was described by Fortune magazine as ‘a vast scarlet and silver restaurant which, in terraced rows of tables, seats fifteen hundred people without ... Read More »

Discovery Channel: “What Destroyed the Hindenburg?” – Sunday, Dec 16 at 9PM features airship historian Dan Grossman

Discovery Channel: “What Destroyed the Hindenburg?” – Sunday, Dec 16 at 9PM features airship historian Dan Grossman Preview of the documentary…    Tonight’s excellent “What Destroyed the Hindenburg?” documentary on the Discovery Channel features airship historian Dan Grossman. Read Dan’s blog from his excellent website: The new Discovery Channel documentary “What Destroyed the Hindenburg?” airs Sunday, December 16, at 9 ... Read More »

Cunard Line’s RMS CARONIA – One of the most famous cruise-ships, the millionaires yacht, visits Sydney, Australia in 1951 on her annual world cruise. Comedian Oliver Hardy is interviewed as he sails from New York aboard the RMS Caronia in 1950.

Famous comedian Oliver Hardy (Laurel and Hardy) is interviewed abroad Cunard Line’s RMS Caronia on a TV show in 1950.  He is sailing with his wife from New York to Europe.  They departed on June 10, 1950.  Hardy was joining partner, Stan Laurel, to make a new film in France. The Cunard Line’s RMS Caronia arrives in Sydney, Australia on ... Read More »

ITALIAN LINE’S TN MICHELANGELO AND THE STORM: When trans-Atlantic ocean liners were faced with “Hurricane Sandy” weather…

Italian TV news celebrates vintage newsreel footage of the new TN Michelangelo…  TN Michelangelo was an Italian ocean liner built in 1965 for Italian Line by Ansaldo Shipyards, Genoa. She was one of the last ships to be built primarily for liner service across the North Atlantic. Her sister ship was the TN Raffaello. Although grand in every way, sadly ... Read More »

Film Review: Kathryn Bigelow “Zero Dark Thirty” Exposes Bin Laden Hunt and Kill – Carries on the “West meets Arab” spy thriller tradition…

Social History – Spies and the Middle East proves rich background for films – Zero Dark Thirty carries on tradition. Early 1900 spies in Middle East- The Director of Military Intelligence (UK), Colonel Sir Francis Wingate, talking to an Arab civilian on leaving a train on the Sudan Military Railway, possibly near Atbara. Colonel Wingate spoke fluent Arabic. The Arab ... Read More »

HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN PRESIDENT LINES

HISTORY OF AMERICAN PRESIDENT LINES… Early History of Oldest Continuously Operating U.S. Steamship Company The Pacific Mail Steamship Company, predecessor of the American President Companies Ltd., was founded in 1848, two years before the transcontinental railroad was completed; its founding at this time provides American President Companies its claim as the oldest continuously operated steamship company in the United States. ... Read More »

FILM REVIEW: LINCOLN

Steven Spielberg’s LINCOLN: Abe is as Wooden as Washington’s Teeth – But Daniel Day-Lewis delivers a presidential performance, and Tommy Lee Jones steals the show The film is like watching a blade of grass grow. For all its good intentions and spurts of innovation, though, LINCOLN never really comes alive as living, breathing history. Instead, it too often plays like ... Read More »

THE SUPER CHIEF – JANET LEIGH (STAR OF HITCHCOCK’S PSYCHO) DOES FASHION ON “THE TRAIN OF THE STARS”

SOCIAL HISTORY – – JANET LEIGH, STAR OF ALFRED HITCHCOCK’S PSYCHO, IS READY TO BOARD AND VIRGINIA LEITH, STAR OF “A KISS BEFORE DYING, SHOWS US THE ALL-PULLMAN TRAIN. EVEN THE CHARACTERS FROM “MAD MEN” COULD HAVE BEEN SEEN ON THIS TRAIN IN THE EARLY 1960S. Virginia Leith, 20th Century Fox star of “A Kiss Before Dying”, did this fun ... Read More »

Book Review: ELSA MAXWELL – Gilded Gatekeeper – Pianist, gossip columnist, TV star, and above all a giver of great parties, Elsa Maxwell was famous for being herself.

Maxwell and host Garry Moore enjoy stuffed pheasant under glass, whereas the panel have been served food appropriated from each other’s refrigerators. ELSA MAXWELL – Gilded Gatekeeper – Pianist, gossip columnist, TV star, and above all a giver of great parties, Elsa Maxwell was famous for being herself. Elsa Maxwell, Tyrone Power and the Duke of Windsor at a 1948 ... Read More »