Archive for May, 2012

Where Is She Now?

I’m going to be completely honest here, I only knew Tippi Hedren from her work with Hitchcock, so when I started looking into her most recent film appearances, I was surprised to see that she hadn’t been in any well-known movies recently.

She did have a role in the David O’Russell film, I Heart Huckabees in 2004, and she also made a guest appearance on CSI in 2008, but for the most part, her roles consisted of TV movies or relatively unknown movies. I’m happy to say, however, that this doesn’t signal an end for Tippi. She’ll be appearing in the Billy Bob Thornton film Jayne Mansfield’s Car. While there’s no official release date yet, it does seem rather exciting due to its all-star cast: Thornton, Robert Duvall, Kevin Bacon, and John Hurt.

Hedren will also be appearing in the silent film, Return to Babylon, which revolves around the scandals that took place during the silent film era. The film will feature an ensemble cast including Jennifer Tilly as Clara Bow, Debi Mazar as Gloria Swanson, Maria Conchita Alonso as Lupe Velez, Brett Ashy as Fatty Arbuckle, and Stanley Sheff as Douglas Fairbanks, to name a few. Again, there hasn’t been any confirmed release date for this film either.

There are several movies in the pre-production stage for Tippi, but looking at the director and the cast, it’s hard to say what kind of impact they will have on her career. From the way I see it, it really seems like Hedren had a tough time picking up her career after she left the world of Hitchcock, but hopefully, with her two movies coming out later this year, she can make a comeback.

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

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Tippi” wasn’t always her name. Born Nathalie Kay Hedren on January 19, 1930 to Dorothea and Bernard Hedren, she was given the nickname “Tippi” by her father — from the Swedish nickname, Tupsa, meaning ‘sweetheart’.  Growing up in Minnesota, Tippi had dreams of becoming a model. As a teen, she took part in department store fashion shows. While she was still in high school, her family relocated to California, and when she turned 18, she bought a ticket to head to the greatest city in the world: New York.

From 1950 to 1961, Hedren was a successful fashion model, appearing on the cover of many national magazines. But it was her role in a commercial that would change her life forever — Alfred Hitchcock was watching The Today Show, and in a commercial for a diet drink called Sego, saw Hedren.  After working with Grace Kelly, Hitchcock was looking for someone who possessed similar sophistication, self-assurance, and cool sex appeal, and he believed he had found that in Tippi.

After a costly $25,000 screen test, Hitchcock signed Hedren to a multi-year contract, his plan being to personally mold Hedren’s public image. Although Hitchcock may have been aiming to make Hedren the next Grace Kelly, Hedren had other ideas: she wanted to be known as the first Tippi Hedren.

The first, and most famous of Hedren’s films, would be The Birds. The film was met with extremely positive reviews, and would wind up being one of Hitchcock’s last successful films. Unfortunately, however, the relationship between Hitchcock and Hedren would slowly start to fall apart.

The next film that Hedren and Hitchcock collaborated on, and the last, was Marnie. The film was greeted with mixed reviews, but was Hedren’s favorite role between the two films. After Marnie, Hitchcock had several other roles in mind for Hedren, but she declined to work with Hitchcock anymore, apparently due to unwanted ‘advances’. Hitchcock kept her under contract, and when other directors expressed interest in casting her, informed them that she was unavailable. As Hitchcock wouldn’t allow Hedren to get out of her contract — Hedren could do nothing, and while doing nothing was paid a ‘small sum’ every week.

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

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Tippi Hedren

Prominent Roles
The Birds (1963) as Melanie Daniels
Marnie (1964) as Marnie Edgar
A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) as Martha
Roar (1981) as Madeline
Pacific Heights (1990) as Florence Peters
Citizen Ruth (1996) as Jessica Weiss
I Heart Huckabees (2004) as Mary Jane Hutchinson

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

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Where Is He Now?

Nominated for an Oscar six times, winning it twice, Caine has settled down into more supporting roles over the past 10 years. Caine appeared in a couple of remakes of his older films, the first being the Stephen Kay-directed Get Carter with Sylvester Stallone starring in the lead role as Jack Carter this time (instead of Caine). The second would be the Kenneth Branagh adaptation of Sleuth, starring Jude Law in Caine’s previous role and Caine in the role originated by Laurence Olivier. Jude Law would end up starring in a remake of Caine’s Oscar-nominated film Alfie.

Now that we’re past the remakes, Caine would be nominated for a Best Actor Oscar in the Phillip Noyce directed film, The Quiet American. In 2005, Caine would appear in the first of his films with director Christopher Nolan, Batman Begins. Since 2005, Caine has appeared in all four of Christopher Nolan’s films: Batman Begins, The Prestige, The Dark Knight, and Inception.

In 2006, Caine appeared in one of the most acclaimed films of the decade: Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men. The film is considered the eleventh-greatest film of the 2000s (source:Metacritic). While playing a minor role, many critics praised Caine’s performance. And to be perfectly frank here, when I first watched the movie, I honestly had no idea that it was him. And when I found out it was him…I couldn’t believe it.

In 2011, Caine would lend his voice to two animated films: Gnomeo and Juliet (also featuring the voice of Maggie Smith), and Cars 2. In 2012, he already appeared in the action-adventure family film Journey 2: The Mysterious Island, which was met with mixed reviews from critics and fans. Later this year, Caine will reprise his role as Alfred Pennyworth in the third and final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman franchise, The Dark Knight Rises. Caine will also be starring in the film Mr. Morgan’s Last Love, and will play a supporting role in Louis Leterrier’s magic/heist thriller Now You See Me. Caine has been busy over the past year, and I can just about guarantee that he won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

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Michael Caine wasn’t always “Michael Caine.” Maurice Joseph Micklewhite (that’s his real name…took me by surprise) was born March 14, 1933 to Ellen Frances Marie and Maurice Joseph Micklewhite. The family lived in Southwark, South London, but had to be evacuated during World War II to North Runction. When the war was over, he would end up living at the Elephant and Castle in Central London. In 1952, Caine was called up to do his national service, and would serve in the British Army’s Royal Fusiliers until 1954.

Caine didn’t begin acting until the age of 20 when he responded to an advertisement for an assistant stage manager with ‘walk-on parts’ for the Horsham-based Westminster Repertory Company. It is here where he adopted his first stage name, Michael Scott. When he turned 22, he would move to the Lowestoft Repertory Company in Suffolk, and later, he would re-locate again to London. It was here that his agent advised him to change his name again as there was already another Michael Scott performing in the area. Like any other person would do, Caine looked around for inspiration — and seeing that The Caine Mutiny was playing not far away, he decided to change his name to Michael Caine.

Caine didn’t get his big break until 1963 when he was cast as Meff in James Saunders’ comedy Next Time I’ll Sing To You. During one of the performances, Caine was visited backstage by Stanley Baker, a former co-star of his from the film, A Hill In Korea. Baker told Caine about the part of a Cockney corporal in the film Zulu. Although Caine didn’t get the part of the Cockney corporal (it had already been given to friend and fellow actor James Booth), Caine won the part of the snobbish, upper class officer, Lt. Gonville Bromhead. Zulu would be the film that brought Michael Caine international attention. After Zulu, Caine would be cast as the spy Harry Palmer in The Ipcress File, and then in the film Alfie as the womanizing title role. By this time, Caine was a bonafide film star. In 1966, Caine made his first film in the U.S., starring in Gambit with Shirley MacLaine.

Caine continued his successes into the 70’s, starring as the lead in the British gangster film Get Carter and then starring in the Joseph L. Mankiewicz mystery film Sleuth alongside Laurence Olivier. In 1975, Caine would co-star with Sean Connery in the John Huston film The Man Who Would Be King. By the end of the 70’s Caine moved to the United States. With this move, his choice of roles would begin to be criticised, and Caine himself admitted that, although he knew some of the films he chose would be bad, he took these parts strictly for the money.

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

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