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Archive for the ‘Tributes’ Category

Ernest Borgnine: January 24, 1917 – July 8, 2012

It is with much sadness that I have to write this sentence…Ernest Borgnine, 95 years old, passed away on July 8, 2012 due to kidney failure. I haven’t had much exposure to him, seeing him in only four films, but he always stood out. The first movie that I had the chance to watch him in was his Oscar-winning role as the title character, Marty. I remember watching him in that role and I was blown away. It wasn’t an over-the-top role that required him to do too much; it was just a role of an everyday man who lived an everyday life, and he was able to play it with such ease and simplicity. Seeing how amazing he was as Marty has, to this day, been an influence on me to try acting. But that’s aside from the point. Borgnine has appeared in films such as From Here to Eternity, The Dirty Dozen, The Poseidon Adventure, Escape from New York, and The Wild Bunch. He would appear in the television series McHale’s Navy, playing the lead role of Lieutenant Commander Quinton McHale. He also had a recurring voice role in SpongeBob SquarePants as Mermaidman, which is silly to include but I have to admit that the episodes that have his character are hilarious because of him. In 2011, Borgnine completed his last film, The Man Who Shook The Hand of Vicente Fernandez, which should be coming out at some point later this year. I plan on watching this film whenever it comes out, and I plan on watching more of Ernest Borgnine when I get the chance, but it’ll be with a heavy heart knowing that he’s no longer with us.

Josh Kaye for Classic Movie Hub

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Independence Day: Characters Count

The fourth of July has become somewhat of a bittersweet holiday for me, as of late. Although the birth of our nation was founded on inclusive, democratic ideals, the current climate of the American political system can be, well, downright depressing. Although I want to show patriotism for my country on the day of its birth, how can I celebrate the spirit of America when those in the public sphere are not exhibiting it? Well, I’ll tell you how: through the movies.  Yes, there are certain classic film characters that have stuck out in my mind as embodying the true sprit of America. Armed with integrity, a strong sense of democracy and a tenacious, spunky attitude, the following three classic movie characters all represent the best this young nation has to offer.

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James Stewart as Jefferson Smith from Mr. Smith Goes to Washington:
American Integrity

At the start of the film, to call Jefferson Smith naive, is to call the kettle black. Of course he’s naive — that’s why he was chosen, so to speak. He so genuinely believed in the American Spirit, in the American Way, that it never even crossed his mind that the government, let alone a trusted friend and politician, could be rife with greed and corruption. His disillusion is something, in my opinion, that every observant, patriotic American citizen will one day endure. I only hope that we can all endure it with the same dignity and integrity as Jefferson Smith.

Much like the forefathers of the United States, Jefferson would not sit idly by and watch as corruption and lies ruled the American (or in the forefathers’ case, Colonial) landscape. To be honest and loyal to the people of a government — and not simply to the government itself — was of the upmost importance. So what did Mr. Smith do? Well, he fought for what he thought was right. He stood up to the government in its own building, surrounded by those whose biggest wish was to see him fail, and through the discourse of the American Spirit, reminded the most corrupt of the American people (the politicians), the meaning of what it is to be American.

“There’s no place out there for graft, or greed, or lies, or compromise with human liberties. And, uh, if that’s what the grownups have done with this world that was given to them, then we’d better get those boys’ camps started fast and see what the kids can do. And it’s not too late, because this country is bigger than the Taylors, or you, or me, or anything else. Great principles don’t get lost once they come to light. They’re right here; you just have to see them again!”

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Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird:
American Ethics

To me, Atticus Finch (just like Gregory Peck) is seemingly too perfect to be true. Intelligent, compassionate, and oh-so gosh darned good looking, I can only wish a man that perfect, that dignified, could really exist. But, as of now, I am willing to accept him for what he is: a representation of American Ethics.

What always stuck out to me about Atticus was, not simply the fact that he was willing to defend Tom Robinson, but rather, what the trial meant to him. The trial was not simply a job; the fate of single man in a racist, small town. For Atticus, the case represented something more. He was not just fighting for the innocence of an individual; he was battling the precedent of an unfair, unjust legal system. He was fighting for the American people and arguing for the responsibility each American has for his fellow man. And even if the battle was uphill, even if failure was imminent, and we all know it was, that was not the point. The point was to do what was right; to work towards equality and democracy even if the outcome is already prescribed.

“In our courts, all men are created equal. I’m no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and of our jury system – that’s no ideal to me. That is a living, working reality! Now I am confident that you gentlemen will review, without passion, the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision and restore this man to his family. In the name of GOD, do your duty.”

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Judy Holliday as Billie Dawn in Born Yesterday:
American Tenacity

Stubborn, crass, with a great capacity for learning, Billie Dawn’s narrative arch is not unlike that of the United States. Kept as a prize by a larger domineering entity, the only thing the United States and Billie Dawn needed was a little education and a little push to break away from their oppressors.

The reason I chose Billie Dawn to represent American Tenacity, as opposed to another, how shall we say, more couth character, is because America isn’t always very couth — and I don’t consider that a bad thing. Billie is rough, Billie is tough, but most of all, when given a fair chance, Billie is smart. Her hard edge and simple disposition may fool those around her, but deep down, Billie is as capable of learning the highest concept of the American Ideals as any Harvard Graduate. And once she became aware of her own power, nothing could stop her.

“Because when ya steal from the government, you’re stealing from yourself, ya dumb ass.”

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

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In Celebration of America’s Birthday today, July 4, 2012, I am sharing some of my favorite Classic Movie quotes about America and Americans!  

Here goes…

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James Stewart in Mr Smith Goes to Washington, Frank Capra

You see, boys forget what their country means by just reading The Land of the Free in history books. Then they get to be men they forget even more. Liberty’s too precious a thing to be buried in books, Miss Saunders. Men should hold it up in front of them every single day of their lives and say: I’m free to think and to speak. My ancestors couldn’t, I can, and my children will. Boys ought to grow up remembering that.

 –James Stewart as Jefferson Smith in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (Frank Capra, director)

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Gary Cooper in Mr Deeds Goes To Town, Frank Capra

Oh I see a small Ohio farm boy becoming a great soldier. I see thousands of marching men. I see General Lee with a broken heart surrendering. And I can see the beginning of a new nation, like Abraham Lincoln said. And I can see that Ohio boy being inaugurated as President. Things like that can only happen in a country like America.

Gary Cooper as Longfellow Deeds in Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (Frank Capra, director)

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Chico Marx and Groucho Marx in A Night at the Opera, Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding

How we happen to come to America is a great story, but I no tell that.

Chico Marx as Fiorello in A Night at the Opera (directors Sam Wood, Edmund Goulding/uncredited)

(pictured with Groucho Marx)

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Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire, Elia Kazan, Tennessee Williams

What I am is 100% American. I’m born & raised in the greatest country on this earth & I’m proud of it. -Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire

Marlon Brando as Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (Elia Kazan, director)

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Bud Abbott and Lou Costello and Mari Blanchard in Abbott and Costello Go To Mars, Charles Lamont

I hereby claim Mars in the name of the United States of America.

Bud Abbott as Lester in Abbott and Costello Go To Mars (Charles Lamont, director)

(pictured with Lou Costello and Mari Blanchard)

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Burt Ward and Adam West as Batman in Robin in Batman the movie 1966, Leslie H. Martinson

Underneath this garb, we’re perfectly ordinary Americans.

Burt Ward as Robin in Batman (1966; Leslie H. Martinson, director)

(pictured with Adam West)

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Hugh Griffith, How to Steal a Million, William Wyler

 American millionaires must be all quite mad. Perhaps it’s something they put in the ink when they print the money.

Hugh Griffith as Charles Bonnet in How to Steal a Million (William Wyler, director)

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Cary Grant, I Was a Male War Bride, Howard Hawks

If the American army says I can be my wife, who am I to dispute them?

Cary Grant (as Capt. Henri Rochard) in I Was a Male War Bride (Howard Hawks, director)

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Cary Grant, Myrna Loy and Melvyn Douglas in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House, H.C. Potter

Every time you get tight you weep on my shoulder about the advertising business — how it forces a sensitive soul like yourself to make a living by bamboozling the American public. Well, I would say that a small part of that victimized group has now redressed the balance.

Melvyn Douglas as Bill Cole in Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House (H.C. Potter, director)

(pictured with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy)

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 Rex Harrison, My Fair Lady, George Cukor

There even are places where English completely disappears; in America they haven’t used it for years.

Rex Harrison as Professor Henry Higgins in My Fair Lady (George Cukor, director)

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Walter Matthau, The Odd Couple, Gene Saks

He’s got 92 credit cards in his wallet. The minute something happens to him, America lights up.

Walter Matthau as Oscar Madison in The Odd Couple (Gene Saks, director)

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America, Rita Moreno, West Side Story, Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise

I like to be in America, OK by me in America, everything free in America…

Rita Moreno (as Anita) and the Girls in West Side Story (directors, Jerome Robbins, Robert Wise)

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Annmarie Gatti for Classic Movie Hub

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If you’ve been to, oh say, any store in the last couple of weeks, you are well aware of what time of year it is — Father’s Day. And of course all the stores are telling you, in brightly colored signs, what your father needs to make that day complete — things like a new tie, a fancy touch screen watch or perhaps a tri-speed, 9 gauge wireless razor of the future. Well, what if instead of listening to all those advertisers, you listened to little ole me. Rather than buying your pops a gift that will be over-priced and under-used, why don’t you plop down and watch one of these three father-centric classic films with him instead. Trust me, time with you is worth all the new ties in the world!

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Spencer Tracy, Father of the bride, classic film, vincente minnelli

Spencer Tracy, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Bennet star in Father of the Bride (1950, Vincente Minnelli director)

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spencer tracy, guess whos coming to dinner, classic film, stanley kramer

Spencer Tracy, Sidney Poitier, Katharine Hepburn and Katharine Houghton star in Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967, Stanley Kramer director)

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Gregory Peck, classic film, the yearling, Clarence Brown

Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman star in The Yearling (1947, Clarence Brown director)

Enjoy!

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

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